High C Reactive Protein Levels
Can be Deadly

As you learned in the section, Systemic Inflammation, high C Reactive Protein levels in your blood can be a predictor of many diseases. Actually, many people who do not even have high cholesterol suffer heart attacks with no warning.

What is C Reactive Protein?

C-reactive protein is produced by the liver. It appears in higher amounts if there is swelling or inflammation somewhere in the body. This test can't pinpoint where the swelling is, just that there is inflammation. This test is often used to check for flare-ups of inflammatory diseases such as Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, but more people are testing for CRP to evaluate their risk of developing coronary artery disease, a condition in which the arteries of your heart are narrowed. Coronary artery disease can eventually lead to a heart attack.

Some researchers believe that if people who have high CRP are treated, they may be less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke. Please also note that this is not a test for a person's risk of a heart attack, since this depends more on a person's health and lifestyle choices. (Mayo Clinic)
Your C-reactive protein level can be checked with a simple CRP blood test. Some researchers think that by treating people with high C-reactive protein levels, it's less likely they might have a heart attack or stroke. This test is a more sensitive CRP test and is called a "high-sensitivity C-reactive protein assay" or hs-CRP. Now this is where you ask, did the chicken or egg come first? I say this because its really not known if elevated CRP causes heart disease or if a person who has cardiovascular disease has high C Reactive Protein levels(Medline Plus).

The table below was taken from Dr. Ridker's comprehensive journal article written for American Heart Association. To see this full text article Click Here.

Dr. Ridker also has a thorough explanation on the research of CRP and cardiovascular disease and the need to have CRP measured in addition to your cholesterol. To see a summary of Dr. Ridker's report, click here. Some items discussed are:

  • What is CRP?
  • CRP and the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
  • Why Do I Need Both CRP and Cholesterol Measured?
  • How Does CRP Affect Diabetes and the Metabolic Syndrome?
  • Who should be tested for CRP?

Bottom Line

If you have a history of heart disease in your family, the hs-CRP test is a simple and inexpensive test that your doctor should order with your cholesterol test! Yes, there are many risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as smoking, being overweight, old age, and high blood pressure, but half of the cause is hereditary. Don't think you are out of the woods if you are not overweight!

To prevent high C Reactive Protein, visit systemic inflammation to review the steps you need to take to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and inflammation.

"C-Reactive Protein Test." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 16 Dec 2011. Web. 23 Mar 2013.                 <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/c-reactive-protein/my01018>.

"C Reactive Protein." Medline Plus. Medline Plus, 10 Feb 2011. Web. 23 Mar 2013.              <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003356.htm>.

Ridker, Paul, M. MD, MPH. "C-Reactive Protein A Simple Test to Help Predict Risk of Heart           Attack and Stroke." Circulation AHA Journals. American Heart Association.                       Web.23 Mar 2013. <http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/108/12/e81.full>

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