Measuring the level of an inflammatory protein in the blood in addition to testing for cholesterol levels could help identify patients at risk for a heart attack. Levels of the protein, called C-reactive protein (CRP), rise in response to infection or trauma, and are associated with the degree of inflammatory response to these events. Previous studies have shown that inflammation is an important contributor to the development of heart disease. It is important to note that this is NOT a conventional CRP test but a newer much more sensitive one and it is not widely available. The standard CRP test that is available to physicians is not sensitive enough to help predict heart attack. A "high sensitivity assay" should be available within the next 6 months to 1 year.
Circulation May 26,1998;97:2000-2002, 2007-2011.
COMMENT: I will be investigating when this test will be widely available and will mention it as soon as I have more information. I clearly plan on adding this inexpensive test for those who are at risk for heart disease. CRP measures inflammation. If it is elevated it good also be a marker for infections in the body that have gotten out of control. As reported in the last few newsletters, there are many organisms now that are being studied for their role in heart disease. Some of them include mycoplasma, Coxsackie virus, Helicobactor pylori and others. The solution would be to improve one's immune system through the diet recommendations listed in newsletter #45.