Wednesday, July 2, 2014

C-Reactive Protein and Cholesterol

In my last post about lowering your c-reactive protein, I mentioned that my cholesterol was low but that my CRP was high.  That confused me.  I guess I thought that kind of thing might be related somehow, or that if my CRP was so incredibly high, my cholesterol should be as well.  So I did a little digging.  And when I say little, I mean a quick Google search.  Nothing you can quote in a research paper. 

From THIS article:

"But for all its virtues, cholesterol testing is seriously flawed. Research has shown that only about 50% of the people who have heart attacks have high LDL. If LDL levels are supposed to be an alarm, then it's not going off for half of those who might benefit from a wake-up call.

This shortcoming presents two problems. First, and most obviously, many people at risk are being missed. So there's a need for a different test that will 'capture' those who slip through the fingers of cholesterol screening.

Second, because cholesterol screening does miss so many incipient heart attacks, it suggests that cholesterol doesn't adequately explain heart disease.

Inflammation seems to be that explanation, and C-reactive protein (CRP), a by-product of inflammation, may provide the test."

And from THIS article:

"Researchers have identified cholesterol's partner in crime as inflammation -- the flood of white blood cells and chemicals that our immune system unleashes to ward off damage or infection.
Cholesterol wouldn't be nearly as dangerous without this process, which is thought to play an essential role in atherosclerosis, the hardening that occurs when low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as bad cholesterol, builds up in the arteries.


The focus is healthy not skinny, right?
When high levels of cholesterol occur in the bloodstream, excess LDL begins to seep into the inner wall of the artery. This triggers an inflammatory response, which actually speeds up the accumulation of cholesterol in the artery wall. This in turn produces more inflammation -- and on and on.
Eventually the deposited cholesterol hardens into a plaque, which can rupture and lead to the blood clots that cause heart attacks and strokes -- an event that inflammation also appears to help along.Health.com: 7 causes of high cholesterol."

So even if my cholesterol isn't considered high, the crap I was eating caused an inflammatory response, leading down the same road to heart attack. 

Sigh. So much to learn.

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