For many years, if you wanted to find out your risk of heart disease, you could get a variety of preventive screenings like blood pressure screenings, cardiovascular screenings, heart disease screenings, and more. Now, doctors are starting to test for the c-reactive protein to assess patients' risk of heart disease.
Your body produces C-reactive Protein (CRP) when something starts to become inflamed. So if your doctor finds CRP in your blood, it indicates that there is inflammation (swelling) somewhere in your body. Inflammation can cause heart attacks, unfortunately. This is because deposits of LDL cholesterol can build up and stay in your blood vessels when they are inflamed, and it can weaken the fibrous cap that eventually bursts open. This causes a massive blood clot which then leads to a heart attack.
Why test for the C-Reactive Protein?
Because inflammation can lead to heart attacks, it only makes sense that doctors gauge inflammatory activity inside of the blood vessels. Here are just some of the many reasons the new attention given to the c-reactive protein can benefit millions of people.
It predicts heart disease
Many studies have shown that there's a high correlation between high levels of the C-Reactive protein and the chances of having a heart attack. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that CRP outperforms LDL cholesterol as a predictor of cardiovascular disease.
It's more accurate than other measures
There are many other ways to measure inflammation, but studies have concluded that the C-reactive protein was a better predictor than other inflammatory markers. It was better at predicted cardiovascular events like heart attacks, stroke, bypass surgeries, and angioplasties.
High CRP/Low LDL
Typically, people with high LDL are at a high risk of heart disease. So, often times, if people have low LDL levels, they are thought to be at a lower risk. However, recent studies show that you can have high CRP and low LDL and have a greater risk for heart disease than someone who is low CRP and high LDL.
Every year, more than 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. Heart attacks are incredibly preventable. Whether you want a heart disease screening, a blood pressure screening, or a test for the C-Reactive protein, the time to act is now.