You probably know your blood pressure, and whether your cholesterol is high, low, or normal. But what about your C-reactive protein (CRP)?
Short for C-reactive protein, CRP is a general indicator of inflammation within the body—a condition that can contribute to a host of serious ailments.
“Chronic inflammation can do serious damage to the arterial walls,” says Michael Roizen, MD, YOU Doc and best-selling author. ”Chronic inflammation causes swelling and reduction in the diameter of the arteries that can lead to blood clots and accelerate the buildup of plaque and subsequent atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.”
According to the American Heart Association, people with high CRP are twice as likely to suffer cardiac arrest as those with low levels. “This makes C-reactive Protein the most important cardiovascular risk factor we have for men and women over age 50—a more important factor than age, family history, blood pressure, cholesterol, and whether you smoke,” says Roizen.