If you have high levels of cholesterol, you have probably been told to lower the LDL number from your blood test. LDL or the bad cholesterol, is the type that contributes to plaque that can clog your arteries, and this in turn can result in heart attack and heart stroke. However, research conducted came to a conclusion that only 50% of people with a history of myocardial infarctions had high levels of LDL. So, physicians use another test called C-reactive protein test for figuring out who is at risk. Apart from knowing about the heart disease, CRP tests can also be followed for conditions such as arthritis, Irritable bowel disease or IBD and Lupus.
In this article we will talk about the C-reactive protein normal range, elevated symptoms and treatments.
What is C-Reactive Protein or CRP & Why is CRP Test Done?
C-reactive protein is a substance that is produced in the liver and the level of which indicates presence of inflammation anywhere in body. The level of CRP is measured by blood tests. The higher the levels of CRP the greater is the inflammation. Thus CRP is described as acute phase reactant. Some other substances produced in the body that acts as acute phase reactant are ESR and platelets.
This CRP test is done if an individual has signs of infection or inflammation. CRP tests can also help doctors see how well treatment for inflammation or the infection is working.
Normal Range of C-Reactive Protein:
High C-reactive protein levels indicate inflammation and thus it will only be detected on blood tests if there is some sort of inflammation or infection present in the body. C-reactive protein or CRP is measured as the amount of CRP in milligrams for every liter of blood or mg/L. Normal range of C-reactive protein is less than or equal to 3.0 mg/L. A standard CRP test cannot often detect normal levels of the CRP as they are so low.
A high sensitivity CRP or C-reactive protein test can detect levels below 10.0 mg/L. Such kinds of tests are performed for determining the risk for cardiovascular disease.
What Can Elevate C-Reactive Protein or CRP Level?
Levels of C-reactive protein above 3.0 mg/L, are thought to put you at a higher-than-average risk for cardiovascular disease. Elevated C-reactive protein can signal several conditions, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, inflammation or infection, and autoimmune conditions like RA, IBD, and lupus. Apart from this, a sedentary lifestyle, genetics, excessive stress, and exposure to environmental toxins, like secondhand tobacco smoke, can also show the chronic inflammation of an elevated C-reactive protein level. Moreover, diet or the ones that contain a lot of processed, refined and manufactured foods can also result in an elevated level of C-reactive protein.
Symptoms of Elevated C-Reactive Protein or CRP:
There are no specific signs or symptoms to detect an elevated level of CRP; because it is not a specific test. However some symptoms may be observed due to the underlying condition that is causing the levels of CRP to rise.
Elevated CRP Can Indicate A Risk Of Heart Disease:
As per the review of the published data, the CDC and the American Heart Association or AHA, have recommended the following guidelines for assessing the risk of heart disease in people.
- C-Reactive protein levels of 1 mg/l or lower, are known to be low risk for heart disease
- CRP levels of 1-3 mg/L are considered moderate risk for heart disease.
- C-reactive protein levels greater than 3 mg/L are considered high risk for heart disease.
- CRP levels of greater than 10 mg/L indicates an ongoing acute coronary process, such as a myocardial infarction.
Treatments For Elevated C-Reactive Protein or CRP:
The treatments for elevated C-reactive protein or CRP and the prevention, both are based upon the underlying conditions. Following proper diet, regular exercise and reducing smoking along with cholesterol lowering medications, one may reduce the cholesterol levels and also the elevated C-reactive protein levels. A decrease in CRP levels is observed with use of statins even though there may not be significant improvement in the lipid profile.
Apart from this, treatments for elevated CRP is also done in people with a history of cardiovascular disease and are on aspirin. However, aspirin use is generally not advised in people without any history of cardiovascular disease and are not even at risk of having it.
Certain diabetic drugs such as Thiaolidinediones, also decrease the levels of elevated CRP in people with or without diabetes.
Anti-inflammatory Diet & Herbs As The Treatments For Elevated CRP:
- It is recommended that an anti-inflammatory diet that include 2-3 servings of salmon or sardine fish per week, or fish oil supplements can be helpful in reducing the levels of C-reactive protein.
- Apart from the anti-inflammatory diet, anti-inflammatory herbs such as turmeric and ginger are also known to be beneficial in treating elevated CRP levels.
- It is also essential to quit smoking, take balanced diet and go for regular exercise can be very much beneficial in reducing the levels of CRP. Research indicates that as the fitness levels decline, the C-reactive protein level increases.
Now, we know about the elevated C-reactive protein levels and also about few of the treatment methods for the same. It is recommended to have routine follow-up with your doctor for the proper management of your conditions that are known risk factors for heart disease like diabetes, hypertension, or hypercholesterolemia that can mark be marked with elevated CRP levels.
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