(NaturalHealth365) Ever wonder what your health may look like – in 10 years? Believe it or not, there is a test that can predict a person’s risk of chronic disease. So, at your next medical appointment, ask for a C-reactor protein (CRP) test – which measures inflammation.
Key point: Excessive cellular inflammation, left unchecked, will lead to disease and premature death.
C- reactive protein (CRP) is a marker of inflammation, and high levels are found in practically every known chronic disease condition. Even if you have no symptoms of disease, excessive inflammation increases your risk for cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and a host of autoimmune disorders.
Keep in mind, CRP is both a marker and a cause of inflammation. And, most people don’t know, CRP levels are very strongly correlated to survival – in patients with cancer and cardiovascular disease.
What can C-reactive proteins tell us about health?
C–reactive protein is manufactured throughout the body – especially by immune cells, the liver and fat cells. It’s an early indication of an inflammatory stimulus like either an infection or tissue injury. When either one occurs, CRP levels rise.
CRP is a very sensitive marker of general inflammation. It is used to track the progression of chronic inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease. In truth, increased symptoms, paired with a rise in the CRP levels, indicate a flare up of these conditions.
What every heart patient needs to know
C-reactive protein levels are closely correlated with cardiovascular disease. There were studies; which showed patients with the highest CRP levels were at a 45% increase risk of heart disease compared with those with the lowest levels.
CRP levels have been shown to predict serious complications in patients with coronary artery disease. It has been found that people with high levels were 60% more likely to develop ischemic heart disease.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, CRP outperforms LDL cholesterol levels as a predictor of cardiovascular risk. A study in the March, 2000, New England Journal of Medicine concluded that C-reactive protein was a better predictor of cardiovascular events (heart attacks, strokes, bypass surgery or angioplasty) than other inflammatory markers.
In fact, studies have shown that CRP is present inside most arterial plaques, heart lesions, and after a stroke or heart attack.
Should cancer patients check their CRP levels?
There is a growing interest in CRP – as a predictor of a variety of cancers. With the discovery that cancer is associated with overall inflammation, this is a useful tool to predict overall risk.
In the first, large prospective study of its kind, Danish researchers report that people with high blood levels of C-reactive protein have a 30 percent greater risk of developing any cancer later in life, and were associated with a higher risk of developing lung and colorectal cancers, compared with people with low CRP levels.
Researchers also found that among people with cancer, those with high CRP levels, prior to their diagnosis, were 80 percent more likely to die sooner than people with cancer who did not have elevated CRP.
Those patients with elevated levels of CRP are more likely to have lymph node and distant metastases, invasion of blood vessels and nerves along with a higher stage diagnosed.
With a CRP greater than 5mg/L, only 13.3% survive for 5 years, while 57% of patients with lower CRP survive for 5 years and longer. CRP levels are the only independent predictor of disease free survival.
Demystifying the CRP test
The CRP test is a simple blood test, taken at a lab, and then analyzed. It is a test that should be taken two separate times about two weeks apart. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends using the average number of two readings for a number of reasons.
The CRP levels are easily influenced by infection or wounds, since each of these raise the level and diet can also effect inflammation – at the time of the test. Optimal CRP levels are under 0.55 mg/L in men and under 1.0 mg/L in women. This is an important test for one simple reason; it give us instant feedback about the quality of our lifestyle.
The best way to lower your CRP level
Lifestyle is the best predictor of one’s CRP levels. A 2013 study found that diet, exercise, stress level, alcohol and tobacco use influenced C-reactive protein levels. Exercising alone has been shown to be effective in bring down C-reactive protein.
Vitamin C has been shown to reduce plasma CRP levels as well as curcumin, fenugreek, ginger, L-carnitine, magnesium, probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, quercetin, vitamin D, vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), zinc and resveratrol.
Let’s face it, this is the one factor you can control by lifestyle and at the same time protect yourself from chronic disease. Get tested and, for goodness sake, take action today.
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About the author: Jonathan Landsman is the host of NaturalHealth365.com, the NaturalNews Talk Hour – a free, weekly health show and the NaturalNews Inner Circle – a monthly subscription to the brightest minds in natural health and healing.
Reaching hundreds of thousands of people, worldwide, as a personal health consultant, writer and radio talk show host – Jonathan has been educating the public on the health benefits of an organic (non-GMO) diet along with high-quality supplementation and healthy lifestyle habits including exercise and meditation.
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