For decades, an elevated level of bad cholesterol (LDL) has served as a warning for many people that something isn’t right in their system. Low levels of LDL are known to reduce the risk of heart diseases. Many people prefer taking the cholesterol test because it is objective, easy and inexpensive. However, it is important to know that the predictive powers of a cholesterol test are limited, and if your LDL level is low, taking a C-reactive protein test could be a better way of detecting heart diseases.
With the protein being discovered over 70 years ago, CRP test helps the doctors to effectively gauge the inflammatory activity inside the blood vessels. In fact, doctors have used CRP measurements for years to monitor patients who are suffering from diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and other immune system related conditions.
High level of C-reactive protein has been associated with an increased risk of a heart attack. In fact, research has shown that a CRP test is a better predictor of heart diseases than LDL cholesterol. Further, studies have also found that CRP and LDL cholesterol are two tests for different high-risk groups, so it is better to take both tests than either alone.
Compared to other inflammatory measurements, researchers have found CRP test to be a better predictor of cardiovascular events such as strokes, heart attacks, angioplasty, or bypass surgery.
CRP tests are now sensitive enough to measure very low levels (1 milligram per liter or less) of CRP. This is a critical development as it is these minor differences that better help in detecting cardiovascular events.
For every medical condition, it is the established cutoffs which help doctors gauge the health of a patient. For CRP test, it has been established that less than 1 milligram per liter of blood corresponds to a lower risk of cardiovascular conditions, 1-3 milligram per liter is moderate risk and over 3 milligram per liter corresponds to a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases.
If your CRP level is high, medications are there to bring it down to the normal range. Also, exercising and losing weight are some of the best ways of lowering the CRP level.
A 2002 study found that people in the high CRP/low LDL group were at greater risk of developing cardiovascular diseases than the ones in the low CRP/high LDL group. Obviously, cholesterol testing would have been ineffective in case of the high CRP/low LDL group, which makes taking the CRP test very important.
If you’ve been suffering from medical condition that can potentially lead to heart diseases, it is extremely important to get a pathology lab test or a C-reactive protein test immediately done from a good quality pathology lab near you. Also, undergoing a full body checkup regularly or as advised by the doctor is essential to accurately know the status of your health.
Stay fit, stay healthy!