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Can You Comment on the New CRP Test
for Heart Disease?

By Dr. Peter W. Kujtan, B.Sc., M.D., Ph.D.

Article printed on page 25 in the May 17-18, 2003 issue of
The Mississauga News under the feature: Health & Wellness, Doctor's Corner.
Dr K

C-reactive protein (CRP) is not a new concept. It is simply a measure of mild inflammation in the body. It is not specific for heart disease. Many people believe that mild inflammation occurs when the plaque formed from cholesterol in the arteries supplying your heart begins to cause significant blockage to be considered a heart attack. The theory states that an elevated CRP might be one way to help predict who is more likely to have a stroke or heart attack. I could only find one study which linked elevated CRP levels with elevated bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and showed a doubling of one's risk. The results suggest that lowering CRP, may lower heart disease.(?) And these tend to be the same proven principles of weight loss, exercise, smoking cessation, proper diet, and controlling diabetes and blood pressure. Similar to homocysteine, CRP is yet another way to detect an ongoing process. At this point it has no great clinical practicality in the general population, because it remains to be proven that lowering this blood test value will alter the disease process. CRP is better used to diagnose and monitor immune and arthritic disorders.


Related resources:

C-reactive protein. Alternative Names: CRP; High-sensitivity C-reactive protein; hs-CRP. C-reactive protein is a test that measures the amount of a protein in the blood that signals acute inflammation.
University of Maryland Study Questions Widespread Use of C-reactive Protein Test to Assess Cardiovascular Risk from University of Maryland Medical Center.
C-Reactive Protein Test (CRP) Glossary of Terms from MedicineNet.
What Is CRP? From Scientific American. Dr Peter Libby, a pioneer in the field of vascular biology, and Chief of Cardiology at Brigham and Women's Hospital, explains what C-reactive protein may have to do with heart disease.

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