Heart Disease and C-Reactive Protein (CRP) Testing
Should I Have My C-Reactive Protein Level Tested?
The American Heart Association (AHA) states hs-CRP may be useful in evaluating those at moderate risk for heart disease and determining whether or not more intensive treatment is warranted. Those at high risk should be treated aggressively regardless of their hs-CRP level.
The AHA does not recommend hs-CRP testing as routine screening for people who are not at high risk for heart disease.
Having more of the following risk factors increases your risk of heart disease.
- A previous heart attack or stroke.
- A family history of heart disease.
- Elevated total and LDL cholesterol levels.
- Low HDL level.
- High blood pressure.
- Being male or a post-menopausal woman.
- Cigarette smoker.
- Uncontrolled diabetes or high blood pressure.
- Physical inactivity.
- Obesity or being overweight.
In addition, research suggests that it may be beneficial to have your CRP level checked if you are going to undergo a heart treatment such as angioplasty. Studies show that higher levels may increase the risk that the artery will close after it is opened by balloon angioplasty. Ask your doctor for specific guidelines regarding your situation.
What Is the Treatment for High C-Reactive Protein?
It is important for everyone to make these lifestyle changes to reduce your risk for heart disease, especially if your CRP level is intermediate or high:
- Eating a heart-healthy diet.
- Reducing high cholesterol levels.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Exercising regularly.
- Managing diabetes and high blood pressure.
- Quitting smoking or tobacco use.
- Drinking less alcohol.
For those with an elevated CRP level, taking aspirin may provide protection from heart disease. Statins, the most commonly prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs, may reduce CRP. Your doctor will prescribe the correct medications and dosage to treat your condition.