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High Blood Pressure

Elevated CRP

12/04/2007

Question:

49 year old over last three annual exams, most recently Sept 2007 all lipid panel within normal range, but hs CRP level 15.1. 2006 CRP 8.7, 2005 12.9. ANA neg, sed rate normal. EKG normal. What could be causing the elevated CRP, could my weight be the reason? Hemoglobin A1C 5.7. Weight 7/07 232, currently 224, still losing.

Answer:

CRP (C-reactive protein) is a marker for inflammation and tissue damage.  CRP is associated with body mass index and waist size.  This is probably due to the fact that the presence of a large number of fat cells stimulates low grade inflammation.  The more adipose tissue (body fat) a person has, the more CRP is made by the liver.

CRP is a marker for cardiovascular risk.  A CRP or less than 1 indicates low risk, 1 to 3 average risk and over 3 high risk.  However, the association of CRP to risk is not very strong, and other risk factor such as blood pressure and LDL cholesterol are much more important.

If you continue to lose weight, your CRP level will probably come down.

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Response by:

Max C Reif, MD Max C Reif, MD
Professor of Medicine
Director of Hypertension Section
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati