The C-reactive protein high sensitivity (Crp-HS) blood test is used to determine how much risk a person faces when it comes to their future risks of cardiovascular disease. It is often ordered with lipid panels that measure cholesterol and triglyceride levels, along with other cardiac risk markers, to determine if medical interventions may be necessary to lower a person’s risk of suffering a future stroke or heart attack.
The protein always increases whenever there is inflammation that occurs somewhere in the body. Persistently high levels of CRP may also be linked to a higher risk of atherosclerosis development, which occurs when fatty deposits turn into plaque and then narrow the opening of blood vessels. This high sensitivity blood test will help to identify if there are low, but persistent levels of inflammation that other testing methods may not be able to find.
Not every doctor recommends this specific blood test to determine cardiovascular disease risks, so it is important to discuss all of the benefits and possible disadvantages thoroughly.
When Is the CRP-HS Blood Test Ordered?
There is no general consensus within the medical community as to when the best time to have the CRP-HS blood test ordered. Some studies have indicated that may be useful in certain gender and age demographics to screen individuals who have a moderate risk of cardiovascular disease due to genetics or lifestyle issues. It may also be useful for individuals who have an LDL count of 130 or less and meet other criteria that would normally exclude heart disease.
What Do My CRP-HS Blood Test Results Mean?
Having high levels of CRP when all other tests indicate that an individual is relatively healthy has been shown to be a predictor in the risks of future heart attacks, stroke, arterial disease, or sudden cardiac death even when cholesterol levels are within normal ranges. The amount of risk is directly correlated with amount of CRP that is detected by the blood test. Those with higher levels of CRP have a higher level of risk compared to those with lower levels of CRP.
Even when the results are at the high end of the normal range of CRP, those with this test result have up to 4x the amount of risk of cardiovascular disease complications as those who are at the lower end of the normal range.
The amount of risk that a person may experience has been grouped into three generic categories. Those with the lowest risk levels will have CRP-HS blood test results that are below 1mg/L. An average amount of risk is seen in individuals with test results that fall between 1-3mg/L. High risk involves anyone with levels that are above 3mg/L.
Here’s What You Need To Know
The risk factors of CRP are only one part of the evaluation process for cardiovascular disease risks. Medical providers will also look at blood glucose levels, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, and diabetes as additional values to help calculate an individual’s personal risks for a sudden cardiac event in the future.
Because CRP is directly linked to inflammation in the body, people who take NSAID medications or statins may be able to reduce the levels of this protein that can be found on this blood test. This is because their primary action is to reduce inflammation. People who consume large amounts of cayenne pepper or turmeric may also experience lower CRP levels.
Women who are taking a hormone therapy will have elevated CRP levels. Injuries, illnesses, infections, and even allergies that may cause inflammation will also elevate CRP levels and make the test information be less than meaningful until the issue resolves.
This test is not suitable for individuals who are suspected to have high CRP levels because of a known condition. When there is chronic inflammation, such as occurs with arthritis, then the CRP-HS blood test will not provide effective results. It is best used when there is a suspected chronic condition in an individual who is already considered to be at a low or moderate risk of cardiovascular disease.
Being able to predict cardiovascular disease now can help to prevent a sudden cardiac event in the future. The CRP-HS blood test can help doctors discover this risk factor when all other tests indicate that an individual is perfectly happy. It is only suitable for individuals with chronic and low levels of inflammation, so speak to your doctor about the potential benefits of this test if you are concerned about your heart health.