Dr. Nabili received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), majoring in chemistry and biochemistry. He then completed his graduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His graduate training included a specialized fellowship in public health where his research focused on environmental health and health-care delivery and management.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
C-reactive protein (CRP) is a marker of inflammation in the
body. Therefore, its level in the blood increases if there is any inflammation
in the body. C-reactive protein, along with other markers of inflammation (erythrocyte
sedimentation rate, or ESR) are also sometimes referred to as acute phase
reactants. C-reactive protein is produced by the cells in the liver.
Although the c-reactive protein level does not provide any specifics
about the inflammatory process going on in the body (such as the location of the
inflammation), it has been linked to atherosclerotic vascular disease (narrowing
of blood vessels) by many studies. Atherosclerosis of blood vessels is thought to have an
inflammatory component, and this may explain the link between this process and
elevation of c-reactive protein.
Atherosclerosis can exist in varying stages. The basic
theory suggests an injury to the blood vessel walls that occurs slowly over
time. The site of initial injury then may become a focus for plaques to form,
which contain inflammatory cells, cholesterol deposits, and other blood cells
which are covered by a cap inside the lining of the blood vessels. This may
represent a stable area of narrowing, or atherosclerosis, with mild inflammatory
activity. These lesions can develop throughout the body in different degrees,
and they can increase in size over time. Occasionally, the cap on one of these
plaques can rupture and cause a more acute inflammation that results in
impairment of blood flow in the involved vessel, leading to heart attacks or strokes when this
occurs in the coronary arteries or arteries within the brain, respectively.
Picture of cholesterol plaque build-up and a blood clot, which can lead to a heart attack