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CRP testing may not track heart disease risk in all populations

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Over the last several years, inflammation of the arteries has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. C-reactive protein (CRP), which rises in response to chronic inflammation, has been linked to heart disease.

CRP tests consistently predict consistently the risk of a second coronary event in a patient who has unstable angina and heart attacks. High scores on CRP tests also predict a lower survival rate in these patients.

However, therapies targeting CRP directly have not proved helpful in reducing heart attack risk, suggesting it is a marker of disease and not a cause.

Researchers studying the Tsimane tribe in Bolivia have found further evidence that CRP alone is not the whole story. The Tsimane have a great deal of chronic inflammation and unusually high levels of C-reactive protein.

Despite that, they have almost no indications of heart disease whatsoever.

"Neither demographic interviews nor the past seven years of working with the Tsimane has turned up many overt cases of people dying from heart attacks," said lead author Michael Gurven. "The Tsimane data tell us that inflammation alone may not be destructive in terms of its effects on long-term health."ADNFCR-2248-ID-19308011-ADNFCR

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