Understanding high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) and its significance. Next Health explains why it matters for your health to achieve well-being.
There are many factors that can increase a person’s risk for developing health problems. Some of these factors include lifestyle, smoking, exercise habits, and diet. But even with these factors, it can be tough to nail down exactly how likely heart disease or cardiovascular issues are, and many people feel more comfortable knowing how at-risk they are for these conditions.
Whether you think you have an intermediate risk or you're just curious, if you want to take proactive steps to minimize your risk for heart disease or stroke, one of the best ways to determine your current risk level is to take a blood test that measures high sensitive C-reactive proteins or HSCRPs.
Not sure what these proteins are? Let us explain the use of HSCRP, what HSCRPs indicate and why thorough blood tests always check for them.
C-reactive proteins, also called CRPs, are substances that your liver produces whenever your body undergoes intense inflammation. CRPs are similar to other compounds called acute phase reactants, which include the blood platelet count of your body and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate or ESR (a non-specific measure of inflammation).
All acute phase reactants are generated by the body in direct response to bodily damage or inflammation. Most of the time, your body produces CRPs in response to things like burns, bodily trauma, heart attacks, infections, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, and even certain types of cancer.
Why? Scientists aren’t sure why the body produces these proteins specifically in response to the above damages or traumas. But it may be that CRPs are necessary to create regenerative tissues, or they may simply be a byproduct of the body’s anti-inflammation response process.
Regardless, doctors or wellness specialists can use CRP levels in clinical practice to judge whether a patient has a high risk for certain long-term diseases, inflammatory disorders, or conditions, such as strokes, coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, and more. Many guidelines recommend these tests as part of the primary prevention of CVD, alongside the use of statins, monoclonal antibody treatments, and other therapies.
“High-sensitivity” CRPs or HSCRPs are variations of regular CRPs that are more easily detected by common medical tests. Technically, HSCRPs aren’t different types of proteins altogether. Instead, these proteins are simply the easiest for tests to measure, which makes them effective markers of inflammation to be used with overall wellness tests or tests that check for specific issues like cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Next Health offers a wide range of biomarker tests. In a nutshell, biomarkers are certain compounds or cells in the body whose presence can be used to form judgments about a patient’s health or risk for certain diseases. Biomarkers can also be used to assess overall wellness, such as the presence of one or more vitamin deficiencies. Other risk prediction tests include cholesterol or HDL levels.
At Next Health, our baseline and other blood tests measure a variety of biomarkers for different needs or focuses. CRPs are included in one of our major tests and are just another form of inflammatory biomarker.
It’s important to note that CRPs aren’t the causes of chronic inflammation, coronary artery disease, or other conditions themselves. Instead, these are ancillary proteins created in response to the presence of one or more inflammatory or health conditions that can be used in risk assessment, risk prediction, and disease control.
So if your body has high levels of CRP, it may be a sign that something is wrong and you need to take steps to correct the issue. Once you and your physician have determined that your body is producing more CRPs than usual, you can begin preventative therapies, make lifestyle changes, start a diet to lower your cholesterol levels, or go on heart medication to avoid or lower the risk of a heart attack, strokes, and other cardiovascular events and complications.
There are two types of CRP tests available. Different types of tests may be administered depending on your medical professional’s recommendation, what your clinic offers, or whether you get a Baseline Test at Next Health.
A regular CRP test only checks for high levels of C-reactive proteins. Therefore, it's less sensitive than the high-sensitivity version of the same test. These tests are typically used to find diseases that cause inflammation or tell medical professionals where to direct their treatment efforts.
In most cases, regular CRP tests are only useful for individuals who have a comparatively high risk of CVD or heart attacks within the next decade or so. But your doctor may recommend a regular CRP test if you have other cardiovascular or inflammatory issues that could exacerbate symptoms.
HSCRP tests are the opposite of regular CRP tests. They can measure even very low levels of C-reactive proteins. Therefore, they are more sensitive than their standard counterparts. As a result, they are better at detecting specific risks for heart disease or stroke in individuals who haven’t already experienced one or the other issue.
Doctors may recommend that individuals with a five to ten percent chance of having a heart attack in the next decade have an annual HS-CRP level test. This is because these tests can determine the risk of a second heart attack. As an example, those who already have high CRP levels and who have had a heart attack are at a greater average risk of having another attack than individuals with regular CRP levels, who would have a low risk.
According to the American Heart Association, high CRP levels mean that individuals likely require much more intense treatments for heart disease and intense management of heart disease-related symptoms. In other words, individuals with high CRP levels as measured by medical tests are at a greater risk for heart disease and similar conditions.
In addition to checking for a patient’s risk of heart disease, CRP tests may also be administered in order to check risk factor for:
You can get HSCRP or CRP tests from regular medical providers and practitioners. They usually take a generalized blood test when looking for the causes of cardiovascular disease or other long-term conditions. CRPs, being standard biomarkers, are measured alongside other biomarkers like blood cell count and so on.
However, you can also get HSCRP assays at clinics like Next Health.
We don't offer a dedicated CRP test at our clinics. However, we offer a next-level health overview called Next Health Total Baseline.
This effective baseline test is used to measure the presence and quantity of over 50 biomarkers. This detailed, thorough test is excellent for individuals who want to assess their overall health status. It can provide information about inflammation, metabolism, immunity, hormones, and much more.
Even better, our Total Baseline test includes even deeper information, featuring panels that can provide data on things like the autoimmune markers in your blood, the level of heavy metals in your blood, and even thyroid health.
Alongside HSCRP 7 C Reactive Protein, our Total Baseline Test measures:
You can take Next|Health’s Total Baseline by visiting either one of our clinics in West Hollywood or in New York City. The appointment only takes 10 to 15 minutes and you can schedule your appointment today by signing up on our website.
Once you arrive for your appointment, you’ll be coached through the process by one of our wellness specialists and a blood draw will be performed. The blood will be shipped to one of our secure laboratory environments where all the biomarkers will be analyzed.
After this, you'll be called back to one of our clinics to analyze the results. Our wellness specialists can walk you through what the blood test found, as well as explain what your blood's level of CRPs means for your wellness and cardiovascular health.
Alternatively, you can schedule an in-home appointment. With these appointments, one of our specialists will come to your home and administer the blood draw personally. You'll still need to wait for the blood sample to be shipped to our laboratory and analyzed thoroughly.
Either way, you can get an accurate and reliable reading of your CRP levels through Total Baseline, as well as learn much more about your body's health than you ever imagined.
All in all, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels are just one way to measure your overall cardiovascular health. They can be effective biomarkers for determining your risk of things like heart disease and stroke, and they can be excellent for figuring out an effective, long-term wellness plan to carry out through your lifestyle decisions and the assistance of your wellness specialist or doctor.
Still have more questions about what CRPs mean for the body or how our Total Baseline test can measure them in your body?
Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment!