Q. I have been hearing that something called CRP may be more important than cholesterol when it comes to heart disease. I don’t know much about it. What are normal CRP values?

My doctor says everything’s fine and that he does not have time to “chat.” But there was an opportunity to have blood work done at my college recently and my CRP was 6.7 mg/L. Isn’t that high? Is there any way to lower CRP other than taking Crestor?

A. Recent research showed that the statin-type cholesterol-lowering drug Crestor lowered CRP and reduced cardiovascular events even in people who started with normal cholesterol (New England Journal of Medicine, Nov. 20, 2008). Before this hit the headlines, many people had never heard of CRP or C-reactive protein. This marker of inflammation should ideally be at or below 1, so yours is elevated. Many cardiologists believe that CRP above 2 calls for treatment.

Crestor can lower CRP, but it is expensive and some people experience side effects. You may be able to fight inflammation with exercise and weight loss. Supplements such as fish oil and Coenzyme Q10 may also help. Your doctor should monitor your CRP level to keep track of your progress. We are sending you our new Guide to Cholesterol Control and Heart Health, in which we discuss CRP and offer a list of anti-inflammatory foods and non-drug approaches for heart health.

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  1. kgb
    Reply

    As a nurse practitioner, I feel strongly that if your doctor says he/she doesn’t have time “to chat”, or that a high test result is “ok” without offering to retest you, then you need to find a new doctor who takes your concerns seriously and works with you to promote health maintenance.

  2. mfn
    Reply

    I asked my GP to test CRP when doing lab work last June. Result was 27.3!
    I’ve discussed the high CRP number with the GP, my Oncologist, and my accupuncturist – they ALL tell me it’s ok, nothing to be concerned about. What now?
    I have lab work scheduled with the Oncologist next month and will ask that it be checked again. Lipids, BP, A1c, and Thyroid are all within range.

  3. T.Moore
    Reply

    My CRP level is 15.8!!! My cholesterol is good and so is my BP. I have psoriasis- and some arthritis. Could the inflammation be from that? How do I know if my heart is affected? I am overweight and not active enough.

  4. LL
    Reply

    Although my cholesterol and blood pressure were great, my CRP was at 7.0. I started eating foods high in antioxidants and taking 1 gram of omega 3 fish oil, daily, lost 43 pounds, and started exercising. I still need to lose 20 more pounds, but my CRP is now 1.6; I’d like to get it to 1.0.

  5. B.B.
    Reply

    I recently was told my CRP could be a sign of heart disease, however a cardiologist also said that inflammation — creating a high crp number — could also be due to inflamed thyroid, and we found later that that’s what I had. my cholesterol is currently 108.

  6. Eileen
    Reply

    Just recently I heard that pine bark extract lowers CRP. It is also called pycnogenol. I don’t know the dosage.

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