C-reactive protein (CRP) is produced by the liver. Its level rises when there is inflammation in your body. LDL cholesterol not only coats the walls of your arteries, but it also damages them. This damage causes inflammation that the body tries to heal by sending a "response team" of proteins called "acute phase reactants." CRP is one of these proteins.
A high level of hs-CRP, i.e., greater than 3 mg/L, indicates acute inflammation and might be a sign of a serious infection, an injury, or chronic disease. Levels in this “red zone'' mean you're at greater risk for heart disease.
If you have high cholesterol, you've probably been told to lower the LDL number from your blood test. LDL is the "bad cholesterol," the type that contributes to plaque that can clog your arteries. This can lead to a heart attack or stroke.But that's only part of the story. Research shows that only 50% of people who suffered heart attacks had high LDL levels. So, many doctors use another test called the C-reactive protein test to help figure out who’s at risk.
Less than 0.3 mg/dL: Normal (level seen in most healthy adults). 0.3 to 1.0 mg/dL: Normal or minor elevation (can be seen in obesity, pregnancy, depression, diabetes, common cold, gingivitis, periodontitis, sedentary lifestyle, cigarette smoking, and genetic polymorphisms).
One study found that testing for CRP levels is a better indicator of cardiovascular disease (CVD) than the LDL test. But, it's important to know that a CRP test is not a test for heart disease. It's a test for inflammation in the body.
1.hs-CRP level of lower than 1.0 mg/L -- low risk of CVD (heart disease)
2.hs-CRP level of 1.0 mg/L and 3.0 mg/L -- moderate risk of CVD
3.hs-CRP level of more than 3.0 mg/L -- high risk of CVD
A high level could also be a sign of cancer, infection, inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, tuberculosis, or another disease.