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C reactive protein and heart disease
It is widely known from a variety of studies that the inflammation process is heavily involved in atherosclerosis, or more commonly called hardening of the arteries. Fatty or plaque deposits build up within the arteries and any problem that involves the entire body is referred to as a systemic process. In systemic inflammation, there is an increase in C Reactive Proteins. Inflammation is the body’s reaction to an injury or an infection.
In 2003, there was a joint statement released by The Centers for Disease Control and The American Heart Association. The publication suggested the additional use of information between inflammation and heart disease and stroke as a method for determination of heart disease risk. Recommendations as part of the practice should be the testing of the C Reactive proteins in the blood. A much more sensitive blood testing process was developed called the hs-CRP test. In the Harvard Women’s Health study, the testing of the C Reactive protein turned out to be more accurate when compared to the cholesterol level testing.
Hs-CRP studies have shown the high level of the C Reactive protein and heart disease is related. The studies on patients with high C Reactive protein levels have predicted the outcome for those patients that eventually experienced unstable angina, heart attack and stroke. The medical community is adapting the hs-CRP test as a general part of the at risk programs for heart disease and stroke.
There are a number of lifestyle problems that can trigger the release of body chemicals that eventually have a more toxic cell effect and lead to inflammation. Some of the most commonly known factor includes smoking, hyperglycemia and hypertension. While these factors are major contributors to the build up of plaque, they are also thought to help in the disruption process of a clot. The discovery of the total correlation has led the medical community to understand that the entire process of atherosclerosis may be involved in the systemic inflammation.
In addition to lifestyle causes, there are bacterial and viral causes that lead to the inflammation process and cause atherosclerosis. The infection bacteria called Chlamydia pneumoniae and the herpes simplex virus are both chronic agents and have been associated with the initial inflammation process. Patients with autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases or cancer will also find their C Reactive Protein levels elevated.
There is a standard that is referred to as the Global Risk Assessment that may help you to determine if you should consider having your C-RP level tested. The test is available online and you can review the results and even have them uploaded to your physician. The Global Risk Assessment can be taken by young adults (20 or older) as well as at any age and develops a general cardiovascular risk scoring. Anyone with a high risk score (20 or more within ten years) or those with known heart disease or stroke history should talk to your physician about having an hs-CRP test done. If you have any combinations of the lifestyle risk markers it is highly recommended that you have the hs-CRP testing. The relationship between C Reactive protein and heart disease is to great to ignore.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Heart Disease Risk Factors7 May 2010|