A C-reactive protein (CRP) test checks for inflammation. Your doctor may order a CRP test to monitor:
- Coronary artery disease risk
- Damage from a heart attack
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Some forms of arthritis
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Infection after surgery
CRP tests for heart disease
CRP may be a risk factor for heart disease. It's thought that as coronary arteries narrow, you'll have more CRP in your blood. A CRP test can't tell your doctor exactly where the inflammation is, though, so it's possible that a high CRP level could mean there's inflammation somewhere in your body other than your heart.
According to the American Heart Association, a 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 a 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 CRP level is.
Aug. 16, 2013
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