Say NO to inflammation
C-reactive protein (CRP) is a slightly better indicator of recurrent coronary events than is low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, according to an analysis of data reported in the the New England Journal of Medicine. The investigators suggest that for secondary prevention, statin therapy should be adjusted to maintain CRP less than 2 mg/L in addition to LDL of less than 70 mg/dL.
Similarly, those patients achieving CRP levels of less than 2 mg/L after statin therapy had lower event rates than did those with higher levels regardless of LDL cholesterol level. "Patients who have low CRP levels after statin therapy have better clinical outcomes than those with higher CRP levels, regardless of the resultant level of LDL cholesterol," the authors write. "Strategies to lower cardiovascular risk with statins should include monitoring CRP as well as cholesterol."
"Whether statin therapy should be used for primary prevention among persons with elevated levels of CRP who do not have hyperlipidemia remains highly controversial and is the subject of an ongoing multinational trial."
Thus, we have more evidence that controlling inflammation (and a blood CRP level is one method to detect inflammation) is important for cardiovascular health. And, statins, especially when used intensively, have a marked benefit on inflammation.
Why do some people have elevated CRP levels?
Well, wouldn't you know it: "Periodontal disease needs to be considered as a major contributor to increased levels of CRP by the medical community," said Dr. Steven Offenbacher, member of the American Academy of Periodontology. Elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) explain one reason why periodontal disease could be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, according to a new study in the Journal of Periodontology. Researchers found that those patients infected with bacteria that cause periodontal disease had the highest levels of C-reactive protein.
Researchers have also found that human fat cells produce a protein that is linked to both inflammation and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. The discovery, reported in Journal of the American College of Cardiology, goes a long way to explain why people who are overweight generally have higher levels of the molecule, known as C-reactive protein (CRP), which is now used diagnostically to predict future cardiovascular events. “If fat cells by themselves produce inflammatory signals that trigger cells to produce CRPs, and if CRPs also produce biological effects on vascular walls, that could explain the higher risk of cardiovascular disease.”
The investigators then solved the other part of the puzzle – why it is that aspirin, statin drugs and an agent known as troglitazone, used to treat diabetes, can reduce CRP levels. They exposed the cultured fat cells that were producing high levels of CRPs to these drugs, and found production of the proteins declined. “We knew from studying patients that these drugs can reduce C-reactive proteins, but now we have direct proof of their benefit.”
These are but two of the reasons.
Let's get on to the important part....what to do about it:
- Statins lower CRP.
- Aspirin lowers CRP.
- Weight loss lowers CRP.
- Alcohol lowers CRP.
- I can't leave out.....exercise: CRP concentration decreases continuously with increasing levels of physical fitness.
There's no need to suffer the pain and agony of chronic inflammation. You can do something about it.
Start by flossing, then go or a walk, then....