Your doctor may order a CRP test to check for inflammation. Inflammation may indicate infection or a chronic inflammatory disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, as well as risk of heart disease.

CRP tests for heart disease

It's thought that high hs-CRP levels in your blood are associated with narrowed coronary arteries. A CRP test can't tell your doctor where the inflammation is, though, so it's possible that a high hs-CRP level could mean there's inflammation somewhere other than your heart.

According to the American Heart Association, an hs-CRP test is most useful for people who have an intermediate risk (a 10 to 20 percent chance) of having a heart attack within the next 10 years. This risk level, called the global risk assessment, is based on lifestyle choices, family history and current health status.

People who have a low risk of having a heart attack are less likely to benefit from having an hs-CRP test, and people who have a high risk of having a heart attack should seek treatment and preventive measures regardless of how high their hs-CRP level is.

Dec. 12, 2014