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A Protein may be Better Heart Disease Predictor than Cholesterol


A blood test for a substance called C-reactive protein may be able to predict a person’s risk for heart disease even better than a cholesterol test, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in November.

C-reactive protein is a measure of inflammation. In recent years, researchers have been focusing on the role that inflammation may play in artery disease, heart attacks and strokes. About half the people who have heart disease do not have elevated cholesterol levels, and researchers now believe that inflammation may be the cause.

In the study of 27, 939 women, which took place over an eight-year period, those who had high levels of C-reactive protein were twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke as the women who had high cholesterol. 

People who have high levels of C-reactive protein can usually decrease their levels through exercise, weight loss, taking aspirin, quitting smoking and taking statin medications.

New England Journal of Medicine, 14 November 2002
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