C-Reactive Protein (CRP): A Heart Risk Factor

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

C-reactive protein (CRP) is a marker for inflammation that is directly associated with atherosclerotic plaque. It’s a blood protein that, when found in elevated levels, may indicate you could be at risk of heart attack and stroke.

Multiple studies have identified CRP as a potent predictor of future cardiovascular problems—and one that is far more reliable than elevated cholesterol levels.

Biological characteristics that are associated with high CRP levels include trauma, infections, high blood sugar, excess weight, and hypercoagulability of blood (sticky blood). Any one of these situations literally feeds pro-inflammatory mediators, ratcheting up the chances that you’ll develop atherosclerosis.

If you have heart disease concerns, other cardiovascular problems, or you’ve had trauma or an infection that could cause inflammation, you should have your CRP levels tested. Just make sure your doctor uses the high sensitivity test (hs-CRP). This test doesn’t take much time; typically, blood is drawn from a vein located either on the forearm or from inside your elbow. The blood is then analyzed in several tests to determine the level of CRP present.

For more information on heart risk factors or cardiovascular problems, visit www.drsinatra.com.


 

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