Inflammation and Heart Disease Risk

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Diagnostic Tools, Heart Health
Last Reviewed 04/16/2014

Inflammation and Heart Disease Risk

As you may remember, last week I wrote a blog called 5 Things Your Cardiologist Won’t Tell You. In that blog, I invited readers to ask any cardiology questions they had—and I’ll be answering all of them in future blog posts.

Today, I wanted to answer a question asked by Melanie. She wrote, “Dr. Sinatra, How does one know if they have inflammation of the heart?”

That’s an important question since the inflammation and heart disease connection is well documented, and more significant than cholesterol levels, and a factor underlying most other diseases, as well.

Inflammation and Heart Disease

  1. Have your doctor request a blood test to measure your level of C-reactive protein (CRP). This is your body’s key inflammatory marker. While the overall numbers may vary according to the lab, look for a general reading below one. That would be considered normal. Anything above one may indicate silent inflammation.

    If your CRP is high, I recommend any or all of the following: exercise, weight loss, nattokinase (50–100 mg/day), CoQ10 (100–200 mg/day), baby aspirin, omega-3 fish oil (2 grams/day), and vitamin E (200–400 IU/day). But CRP is not the only test that can help you identify whether or not silent inflammation and heart disease may be a concern.

  2. Have your doctor test your Lp(a) levels, which is a cholesterol particle that can cause inflammation and clogging of the blood vessels. High Lp(a) is usually hereditary. If you know elevated Lp(a) has been a problem for your family, you should ask your doctor to perform this test for the inflammatory marker. In fact, should you have a strong family history of heart disease, you should have your inflammatory markers evaluated-- that means CRP, Lp(a) and homocysteine as well.

  3. If both your CRP and Lp(a) levels are high, I recommend further testing for ferritin, fibrinogen and homocysteine. All of these inflammatory markers indicate the presence of inflammation in the body.

Now it’s your turn: Have you had your CRP level measured?

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