CRP Testing and Heart Disease Risk

My quest for a better understanding of heart disease risk continues!  One of the blood levels I had checked recently is hs-CRP (high sensitivity C-reactive protein).  It is a measure of inflammation and is related to the atherosclerotic process leading to arterial plaque development and clotting that can lead to a heart attack.  Inflammation, in general, is an indication that the body is reacting to something that is not its normal healthy state.  It can be a short term condition like an infection, or something more serious like heart disease.  My measured value was <0.3, which represents negligible inflammation.

In my research, I came across a link  to a  “heart attack risk calculator” on the American Heart Association website.  It calculates a person’s estimated risk of having a heart attack over the next 10 years, and based on this, my risk is very low.  A doctor probably would not have even recommended an hs-CRP test for me, although I’m glad I have the information.  If a person has a moderate risk, an hs-CRP result may help a doctor determine whether or not to treat them or not.  Heart disease risk is still not easily definable using the lab tests currently available, and hs-CRP testing is not part of a routine blood panel yet.  It is another helpful, but not conclusive, test available.

For now, I think I am doing most of what I can to live a healthy lifestyle.  I eat reasonably well, exercise regularly, and don’t smoke.  I also try to be aware of stressors in my life and roll with the punches as much as possible.  It seems that the more we know about health, general lifestyle goals just don’t really change that much!

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