C-Reactive Protein (CRP) is an inflammation marker used to assess whether there is inflammation in the body - it does not identify where the inflammation is located. High Sensitivity CRP (CRP-hs) is a test used to detect low-level inflammation thought to damage blood vessels which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
When you suffer a serious injury or infection you experience significant inflammation around the site of injury - such as the swelling around a twisted ankle. Any injury like this will cause your CRP-hs to rise.
What might a low result mean?
A low level of CRP-hs means that there is very little inflammation detected in your body. This may indicate a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
What might a high result mean?
Raised levels of CRP-hs may indicate chronic inflammation which may mean that you are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, including a heart attack and stroke. Very elevated levels are normally associated with some type of infection or inflammation - even a common cold will cause CRP-hs levels to rise. An acute elevation of CRP-hs will normally subside once an infection has cleared.
How might I improve my result?
Occasionally, there is no obvious inflammation or infection in the body yet CRP-hs is raised persistently. Factors which can contribute to high inflammation include having high blood pressure, smoking and elevated LDL cholesterol. A diet high in trans fats and sugar as well as lack of exercise are also thought to promote an inflammatory response, as is being overweight or obese.
Eating a healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables and avoiding processed foods along with regular exercise can help to reduce inflammation and therefore CRP levels in the body. Green leafy vegetables, fatty fish and nuts such as almonds and walnuts are thought to be good anti-inflammatory foods.