C-reactive protein (CRP) is a biomarker produced by your liver in response to inflammation, which is a natural process used by your immune system to heal injuries and ward off infections. But when inflammation becomes chronic it leads to changes in your blood vessels making them more permeable to fat and cholesterol and leading to the formation of plaque on the blood vessel walls. This is why chronic inflammation can cause atherosclerosis and heart attacks¹ and elevated levels of CRP are associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. CRP levels can also be elevated by inflammation due to infections and autoimmune diseases, such as Crohn’s disease or rheumatoid arthritis.
High-sensitivity CRP (hs-CRP) is one of the biomarker screens used to detect chronic inflammation. Healthcare professionals will use follow-up tests to identify the specific factors affecting your CRP level and to determine the source of the inflammation.
Determining the cause of inflammation is essential to lowering CRP levels, but exercise, refraining from smoking, and consuming a heart-healthy diet can help. Statin medications can also be used to reduce CRP levels.
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