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Life Extension Magazine May 2014
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Testing For C-reactive Protein May Save Your Life

By Susan Simmonds
Clinical Uses Of CRP In Diagnosis
Measuring CRP In The Laboratory

C-reactive protein has been in use as a screening measure for inflammation almost since its original discovery.70

Levels of CRP begin to rise in the body usually 6 to 12 hours after an inflammatory stimulus and peak around 48 to 96 hours after the event.71,72 Changes in repeated measurements of CRP are often used as a way to track a patient’s inflammatory course, helping to identify improvement (falling CRP) or relapse (rising CRP).73

While CRP is never diagnostic of a specific condition, if interpreted in terms of clinical context, it does help to determine if inflammation is the source of worrisome signs and symptoms, and whether symptoms are being caused by infections or by other causes.70,74 In infants and toddlers with high fevers, for example, a CRP below 5 mg/dL was shown to rule out a serious bacterial infection.75

In a similar fashion, CRP is frequently used diagnostically to rule out a potentially dangerous diagnosis in adults. For example, adult patients with chest pain were found to be safe to go home from the hospital if they had CRP levels within the normal range.76

Elevated CRP levels are also useful as early markers of the seriousness of inflammation in a very wide range of disorders, from urinary tract infections and appendicitis to heart attacks.15,70,76 And CRP has been shown to help in discriminating Crohn’s disease from non-inflammatory bowel disorders, including intestinal lymphoma.77

Another widespread use of CRP is as a means of following a patient’s progress after a major diagnosis has already been made. In such patients, the CRP level correlates with the severity of the ongoing disease, and therefore rising levels can be used as an early warning that the disease is rapidly worsening, and that aggressive treatment is necessary.78

Summary

We’ve known for years that C-reactive protein (CRP) is an important marker of dangerous inflammation in the body, but we’ve recently discovered that it also actively participates in the inflammatory process.1,7

High CRP levels are found in practically every known inflammatory state. Even if you have no symptoms of disease, elevated CRP signals increased risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and more.2

Additionally, there’s strong evidence that people with lower CRP levels have fewer inflammation-related diseases.21,22,30,34,63

This knowledge has opened the door to a new way of treating chronic inflammation: by lowering your CRP level back to a safe, normal range. There are drugs such as statins that lower CRP levels, but high-dose statin drugs have proven side effects.45 Fortunately, over a dozen nutrients have been found to have a safe, immediate impact on this dangerous cause of chronic inflammation.

Don’t delay—get your CRP checked, and get started on a lifestyle, supplement, hormone or drug regimen that works for you. 

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at 1-866-864-3027.

Obesity And CRP
Measuring CRP In The Laboratory

Two conditions that contribute to a rise in CRP levels are obesity and diabetes—an effect that may be the reason behind the rise in inflammation seen in those conditions.79,80

Obese individuals experience a double threat from CRP. First, while much of the circulating CRP is made in the liver, human fat tissue also produces substantial amounts of CRP.8,79 Second, obese individuals experience a rapid rise in cytokines, particularly the one known as interleukin-6 (IL-6),81 which may induce CRP production in the liver—potentially causing CRP levels to climb even higher and promoting additional inflammation.82

In this way, CRP may be at least part of the missing link between obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, in which inflammation plays such a major part.79,80,82

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