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C-Reactive Protein (CRP)

C-Reactive Protein (CRP):C-Reactive Protein (CRP)

Overview

"C-reactive protein (CRP) is a substance produced by the liver that increases in the presence of inflammation in the body. An elevated C-reactive protein level is identified with blood tests and is considered a non-specific �marker� for disease.C-reactive protein (CRP) is a protein that increases in the blood with inflammation and infection as well as following a heart attack, surgery, or trauma. Thus, it is one of several proteins that are often referred to as acute phase reactants. The high-sensitivity CRP test measures low levels of CRP in the blood to identify low levels of inflammation that are associated with risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD).

There are two different tests that measure CRP and each test measures a different range of CRP level in the blood for different purposes:

The standard CRP test measures markedly high levels of the protein to detect diseases that cause significant inflammation. It measures CRP in the range from 10 to 1000 mg/L. The hs-CRP test accurately detects lower levels of the protein than the standard CRP test and is used to evaluate individuals for risk of CVD. It measures CRP in the range from 0.5 to 10 mg/L. It is now believed that a persistent low level of inflammation plays a major role in atherosclerosis, the narrowing of blood vessels due to build-up of cholesterol and other lipids, which is often associated with CVD.

High-sensitivity CRP is one of a growing number of cardiac risk markers that are used to help determine a person's risk. Some studies have shown that measuring CRP with a highly sensitive assay can help identify the risk level for CVD in apparently healthy people. This more sensitive test can measure CRP levels that are within the higher end of the reference range. These normal but slightly high levels of CRP in otherwise healthy individuals can predict the future risk of a heart attack, stroke, sudden cardiac death, and peripheral arterial disease, even when cholesterol levels are within an acceptable range.

** Why to test C-Reactive Protein (CRP)?**

C Reactive Protein or CRP is tested to detect diseases that cause significant inflammation.

** When to test C-Reactive Protein (CRP)?**

Currently, there is no consensus on when to get tested, though some guidelines include recommendations on hs-CRP testing. For example, a guideline from the American College of Cardiology Foundations and the American Heart Association says that hs-CRP testing may be useful when men 50 years old or younger and women 60 years old or younger have intermediate risk. It also may be useful for treatment decisions when men and women are older than these respective ages and have LDL-C less than 130 mg/L and meet several other criteria, such as no existing heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or inflammatory conditions.

When hs-CRP is evaluated, it may be repeated to confirm that a person has persistent low levels of inflammation."

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