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Heart disease causes one in every four deaths in the United States. HS-CRP testing can determine your risk of cardiovascular disease when considered with factors such as age, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and diet.
Why should you get tested
Levels of CRP that are higher than normal can indicate an increased possibility of heart attack or stroke. Based on test results, your doctor can suggest medication and lifestyle changes that may help reduce your risk.
Who should get tested
HS-CRP testing looks at the risk of heart disease among people who don’t have cardiovascular disease. There isn’t a consensus on test use, but one recommendation from the American College of Cardiology Foundations and the American Heart Association suggests testing for men under 50 and women under 60 who have an intermediate risk of heart disease.
Risk factors for heart disease include:
When to get tested
If there’s concern about your risk, your doctor may order an HS-CRP and other tests, such as a lipid panel, for more information.
An HS-CRP test is performed with a standard blood draw. No preparation is necessary unless you’re also having a test that requires fasting.
You should discuss your overall health with a doctor prior to the test. If you have or recently had illnesses or infections, you may need to wait because of inflammation that may cause higher levels of CRP.
To determine your CRP levels, you must give a blood sample at a lab. A technician collects a small amount of blood using a needle syringe. The sample is usually drawn from a vein in your arm or hand. You may feel a small prick where the needle goes in.
You can buy an HS-CRP home test kit from some websites if you don’t have an order from a doctor. The kit lets you collect your own blood sample through a finger prick to send to a lab for testing.
Labs may take up to a week to analyze blood tests. An HS-CRP test result indicates the concentration of CRP in your blood in milligrams per liter. Although normal ranges may vary by lab, the general risk of cardiovascular disease according to the concentration of CRP is:
High levels of CRP don’t mean that you have heart disease, but it can indicate inflamed artery linings. This can increase the possibility of heart attack, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, or sudden cardiac death.
Your physician also considers your results in the context of your health. Based on the findings, your doctor may order additional tests or recommend ways to reduce your risk of heart disease through exercise, nutrition, medication, and stress management.
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