C-reactive protein and inflammation

Another chemical that has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diease is C-reactive protein.

High C-reactive protein (CRP) is associated with increased coronary heart disease risk even in the absence of traditional cardiac 'risk factors'.[1]

Many studies have demonstrated a strong link between levels of CRP and 10-year risk of a heart attack.[2] Raised CRP means a higher risk.

Indeed, a study of 27,939 apparently healthy American women followed for eight years showed that C-reactive protein level was a much stronger predictor of cardiovascular events than LDL.

But CRP is not a cause of coronary disease; it is a marker for inflammation and systemic infection.


1. Cushman M, Arnold AM, Psaty BM, et al. C-reactive protein and the 10-year incidence of coronary heart disease in older men and women: the cardiovascular health study. Circulation. 2005; 112: 25-31.
2. Albert MA, Glynn RJ, Ridker PM Plasma concentration of C-reactive protein and the calculated Framingham Coronary Heart Disease Risk Score. Circulation. 2003; 108: 161-5.

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Last updated: December 9, 2011