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Getting Tested for CRP May Save Your Life

January 26, 2005 | 27,650 views

Having high cholesterol and high blood pressure may not be the only culpritsbehind impaired heart health. According to findings, high levels ofa protein known as CRP (C-reactive protein) have been found to increaseone's risk of heart disease. In fact, studies have suggested the higherthe CRP level, the greater the risk.

And, while scientists are unaware if reducing the level would decreasethe risk of heart disease, some cardiologists say almost all patients--whetherthey feel they are healthy or not--can benefit from knowing theirlevel.

For example, one man who had his levels checked as a preventativemeasure received shocking results. Other than being a smoker, theman was healthy, stayed trim, exercised every day, did not takeany prescription drugs and had low blood pressure and cholesterol.However, after being tested twice, the man's CRP levels were a higher-than-normal3.1, signifying an elevated risk of heart disease. And quittinghis smoking habit would only bring his levels down a mere one-halfof a point.

The Role of CRP

CRP measures inflammation and is made in the liver and in cellslining blood vessels. Levels of the protein rise with factors thatmake heart disease more probable, such as:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol

Conversely, levels fall when patients lose weight, stop smokingand get their diabetes and cholesterol under control.

Whether CRP is an indicator or an instigator of heart disease remainsunder investigation: Infectious-disease specialists noted the proteinis part of the body's way of fending off microbial invaders, whileother research suggests CRP contributes to rupturing plaque andforming blood clots that block arteries--two components of a heartattack.

NewYork Times January 11, 2005

USAToday January 6, 2005

 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

You may remember an article I previously ran in the newsletter about the benefits of havingyour blood tested for CRP. CRP appears to be an outstanding way to screen for the "hidden" inflammation that is connected with heart disease and cancer. I have also posted a number of blogs pertainingt o this issue.

The underlying problem regarding CRP, however, is that doctors are aware that it exists but are uncertain whether reducing it is at all helpful. In fact, some physicians remain rather ambivalent about it. They don't pay much attention to CRP and instead focus their attention on lowering cholesterol levels by prescribing virtually worthless (from a health perspective) and dangerous statins.

I used to be somewhat ambivalent about CRP myself, until recently when I decided to start performing this inexpensive test on all patients who come to my clinic to measure arterial inflammation. It truly is a worthwhile test, as it allows you understand if your health is in good standing or needs some assistance.

Preventing High CRP Levels

I urge you to follow these healthy guidelines to preventing high CRP levels so that you may reduce your risk of heart disease and other illnesses:

  • One of the most important steps in lowering high your CRP levels is to take a high-quality krill oil.

  • Optimize your diet based on your body's unique metabolic type (take our free online test to determine yours now). In understanding your metabolic type, you will learn the right (and wrong) foods to fight and prevent disease and improve the way you feel--physically and emotionally. Remember, the foods that are healthy for you may not necessarily be healthy for others, and vise-versa. (Learn more about eating properly and understanding your metabolic type through my Total Health Program.)

  • Limit or eliminate your intake of grains and sugars, particularly fructose--avoidance of these foods will lower insulin levels. If you are experiencing symptoms such as excess weight, low blood sugar and high blood pressure, chances are very good that the excess carbohydrates in your body are to blame. We all need a certain amount of carbohydrates, but through our addiction to grains, potatoes, sweets and other starchy and sugary foods, we are consuming far too many, forcing us to sacrifice our health.

  • Start an exercise program that is tailored to your body's specific needs. When you exercise you increase your circulation and the blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of fighting an illness before it has the opportunity to spread.

  • Avoid harmful habits like smoking, which jeopardize your health. One way to help you quit such habits is to use the energy psychology tool Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). EFT uses simple tapping with the fingertips to input kinetic energy onto specific meridians on the head and chest while you think about your specific problem. Voice positive affirmations are also incorporated into this technique. For more information on this subject, you can view my free EFT manual.

By following the above guidelines, I assure you that not onlywill you maintain healthy CRP levels, but you will also move towards optimal health and wellness.

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