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C Reactive Protein Blood Test (CRP) (cont.)

C-reactive Protein Measurement

CRP is measured in the blood from a blood sample that is sent to a laboratory for analysis. Traditionally, CRP levels have been measured within the 3 to 5 mg/L range in assessing for inflammation. High sensitivity CRP (hsCRP) tests able to measure down to 0.3 mg/L -- which is necessary in risk assessment for vascular disease -- are available.

Recommendations for Patients to Have C-reactive Protein Testing

Some experts recommend routine measurement of hsCRP along with cholesterol measurement as a screening tool for cardiovascular disease. However, this is not a widely accepted recommendation and its practice remains controversial. However, if CRP screening is performed, then two separate measurements need to be done (ideally done 2 weeks apart) with the average of the measurements used to assess risk.

C-reactive Protein Treatment

Any therapy to lower CRP levels focuses on lowering the cardiovascular risk factors. Regular exercise, appropriate diet, and smoking cessation are in the forefront of cardiovascular risk prevention and reduction.

Cholesterol-lowering medications (statins) have been linked to lowering of CRP levels in individuals with high cholesterol. The fall of CRP levels may occur even without significant improvement in cholesterol levels.

The use of aspirin in healthy individuals was not shown to reduce CRP levels significantly. However, in patients with cardiovascular disease and elevated CRP, the reduction of cardiovascular risk and CRP levels was noted after aspirin use.

Some oral diabetes medicines, thiazolidinediones (rosiglitazone and pioglitazone), were noted to reduce CRP levels in patients with or without type 2 diabetes. This effect was independent of their glucose-lowering effects.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/11/2015

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