C-reactive Protein (hsCRP) Test for Cardiovascular Disease


Image Caption : C-reactive Protein (hsCRP) Test for Cardiovascular Disease : The C-reactive protein (hsCRP) test is used to detect inflammation in the body. Blood levels of CRP higher than 3.0 mg/L are linked to a higher risk of heart disease; levels higher than 10 mg/L are usually caused by inflammation or infection. C-reactive protein (CRP) is a substance made by the liver that is released into the bloodstream by inflammation. CRP levels also seem to be associated with an increased risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis, in which fatty deposits called plaque buildup inside the arteries. For this reason, a high sensitivity C-reactive protein test (hs-CRP) is increasingly ordered along with other tests as part of a cardiovascular risk profile (other components of the profile include cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, glucose levels, lifestyle and family history).

C-reactive protein (CRP) test

The C-reactive protein (CRP) test is a general test for inflammation in the body; it can indicate that inflammation is present, but cannot determine the location or cause. The test is sometimes used to monitor flare-ups of inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. A version of the test called high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) is used to evaluate a person's risk for heart disease.

Why test for C-reactive protein (CRP)

C-reactive protein (CRP) is a substance made by the liver; infection and inflammation can trigger the release of CRP within hours. Elevated CRP levels are also seen after a heart attack or surgery. Levels can jump 1000-fold in response to acute inflammation, often rising before the appearance of pain, fever or other clinical symptoms. The high sensitivity version of the test (hs-CRP) measures the same molecule, but in very small amounts, and is used to assess the risk of heart disease in otherwise healthy people.

Demographics

According to the American Heart Association, a CRP test is most useful for people who have an intermediate risk (a 10 to 20 percent chance) of having a heart attack within the next 10 years. This score, called the global risk assessment, is based on lifestyle choices, family history and your current health status. People who have a high risk of having a heart attack should seek treatment and preventive measures regardless of their CRP levels.



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