What is C-Reactive Protein?
July 22, 2009 by Bob Livingston
C-Reactive protein (CRP) is the concentration of a protein that is produced by the liver during episodes of acute inflammation. It is a part of the body’s basic emergency response system.
As far as my study goes, everybody should at least have a CRP test annually.
CRP is a health marker that indicates early signs of the risk of heart disease and stroke. Without this test most doctors rely on lipid profile (cholesterol and triglycerides) as their indicators or predictors of heart disease and stroke. Evidence is substantial that high CRP levels double the risk of heart disease and stroke. Millions of people have normal cholesterol levels but high levels of inflammation in their cardiovascular system as identified by the CRP blood test.
Many studies in the last few years have shown that inflammation is always present in the heart blood vessels of heart attack patients with normal cholesterol levels.
An inflammatory response is a normal response to disease or injury and particularly to infection. The trouble with inflammation is that it is sometimes an over response doing more harm than good.
It is now clear that atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) is an inflammatory disease rather than a cholesterol buildup problem.
Infection and inflammation are closely related. Researchers have suspected for some time that artery disease may have an infectious component.
Chronic low level or subclinical infection or inflammation is a tipoff that something is out of stasis, or balance. Those who have had bacterial or viral infections are more susceptible later to inflammation leading to heart attacks or stroke.
A CRP blood test can accurately predict future heart problems even in otherwise low risk patients, such as those who don’t smoke, who have normal cholesterol and blood pressure, and no family history of heart disease or diabetes.
Above normal CRP has multiple, independent affects that cause heart disease not seen and not suspected. The very important thing is that a CRP blood test may predict many months or years in advance of an incident.
Keep in mind that many heart disease risk factors such as obesity, lack of exercise, smoking and high blood pressure are all known to increase inflammation and CRP levels. In fact, fat cells by themselves and independent of the rest of the body produce inflammation and higher CRP levels leading to heart disease. Fat is an organ in and by itself that can, over time, destroy the rest of the body with subclinical infection and eventually heart disease.
Many of us are dying as walking time bombs, totally unsuspecting.
What to do? Get a CRP test at least once a year. Be sure to get the high-sensitivity CRP test because it can detect the extremely low level of inflammation (infection) linked to early heart disease.
Get inflammation down to get CRP down.
It’s what you eat! The American people live on commercial non-foods. Get off all trans fats such as French fries, cookies and crackers.
With high CRP goes high ratios of omega-6s to omega-3s. To restore balance to approximately 1:3, take high dose fish oil (3 teaspoons daily), and eat fish three to five times weekly. Be careful of other blood thinners because fish oil is a natural blood thinner—one of the best. Too much omega-3 fatty acids could cause bleeding in some people. Not much of a risk though, in my opinion. But be sure to see your doctor—especially if you are on any prescription drugs.
Reference: C-Reactive Protein by Scott J. Deron, D.O., FACC.