Prior to testing for C-reactive protein (CRP), many individuals suffered heart attacks, strokes and other life threatening events without a single hint of warning. But when researchers discovered normal cholesterol levels were found in nearly half of heart attack patients, it meant there had to be an additional unknown factor at work. That’s when inflammation was identified as the underlying contributor to the onset of a heart attack.
C-Reactive Protein’s Relationship to Heart Disease
Inflammation results when excess bad cholesterol, or LDL, makes its way into the bloodstream through the arterial wall. Once LDL is there, the inflammatory response is triggered and cholesterol accumulates on the arterial wall at a rapid pace, leading to an arterial blockage and, eventually, a heart attack. During this process, C-reactive protein is released. This discovery has led to a widespread change in protocols related to heart disease screening and testing.
C-Reactive Protein Testing
Because of its direct connection to arterial inflammation, studies indicate CRP could be a better indicator of heart disease than cholesterol levels. In 2002, a Harvard study found that women with elevated C-reactive protein levels were more than twice as likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke as women with low levels. When tested against cholesterol’s ability to predict the development of cardiovascular events, C-reactive protein was approximately 40% better than cholesterol testing.
Benefits of C-Reactive Protein Testing
Not only is C-reactive protein testing more efficient, but also provides physicians and patients with the following benefits.
- Inflammation – When compared with other tests to measure inflammation, using the CRP test has produced superior results.
- Sensitive – As technology advances, the ability to test for increasingly smaller quantities of C-reactive protein draws near. Currently, levels as low as 1 mg per liter can be detected.
- Practical – Unlike expensive laboratory testing, C-reactive protein tests are cost-effective and only require a tiny bit of blood to measure levels.
Live Heart Healthy
Natural ways to achieve healthy cholesterol levels include proper diet, regular exercise and healthy lifestyle habits. If you have high cholesterol or know someone who does, choosing the right plan of action can be confusing and overwhelming. While a variety of prescription medications are available, they’re not always the best option, as they can sometimes pose serious health risks.