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C-reactive protein levels differ among races

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Statin medications have been shown to be an effective way to lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health. However, a new study has found that many doctors may not be prescribing them to the right patients due in part to inadequate cholesterol testing.

C-reactive protein testing is a common measure that is used to determine inflammation of the arteries caused by high cholesterol levels. The FDA recently recommended statins for men and women who have high levels of the protein.

However, researchers from University College of London found that average C-reactive protein levels can vary greatly among individuals of different ethnic backgrounds. Aroon Hingorani, who led the investigation, said that the test may still be a useful tool in assessing heart risk, but only as part of broader cholesterol testing.

"There is ongoing debate over the ability of CRP to predict the risk of heart disease over established cardiovascular risk factors," Hingorani said. "If clinicians still want to use CRP as part of heart risk prediction, the results of the current study suggest they should bear ethnicity in mind in interpreting a CRP value."

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