This One Blood Test Could Save Your Life
Inflammation is a hot topic. It’s in the news, making magazine covers and maybe your doctor has even discussed the effects of chronic inflammation with you. But this wasn’t always the case. It wasn’t until recently that scientists discovered that inflammation is at the root of many degenerative diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s and even cancer.
How to Tell If You’re Inflamed
C-reactive protein (CRP) has long been used as a marker of inflammation. High CRP levels are present in most, if not all, inflammatory states and diseases even without any other symptoms. Knowing your CRP level puts you in a powerful position. If your levels are elevated, you can take steps to lower it and reduce your risk of developing some of the chronic conditions mentioned above.
C-reactive protein is produced throughout the body, mostly by the liver, immune and fat cells. This protein is sent into your bloodstream in response to rising inflammation. CRP is most often used as a marker of general inflammation and has been used to monitor the progression of inflammatory conditions. But more recently, accumulating evidence suggests that CRP may play a more active role by causing inflammation.
The best way to gauge your level of inflammation is to visit your physician and request a CRP test. During your visit, be sure to discuss risk factors, concerns and any other screenings you need and when you need them. Regular medical check-ups can help you identify potential issues before they become serious problems.
How to Lower C-Reactive Protein
Several different factors can increase inflammation in your body, from genetics to environmental. However, your lifestyle has a direct impact on your inflammatory status and CRP levels. For starters, it’s crucial to ditch processed foods and replace them with fresh produce. Fruits and vegetables are naturally high in polyphenols and antioxidants, which may help counter the effects of oxidative stress and inflammation.
Managing your weight is another way to help decrease inflammation in your body. Overweight and obese individuals tend to have higher levels of CRP. Carrying excess weight can set the stage for inflammation and increase the risk of developing degenerative diseases such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Lastly, certain dietary supplements can help curb elevated C-reactive protein levels and help support healthy inflammatory responses. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, [TVBLOGCOPY]Nopalea[/TVBLOGCOPY][MWSBLOGCOPY]Nopalea[/MWSBLOGCOPY] was shown to lower elevated at-risk levels of C-reactive protein. In addition, it helped improve neck, back and joint mobility, flexibility and range of motion compared to the placebo group.
As you can see, even with all the breakthroughs about inflammation the standard preventative advice still holds. Eat a balanced diet, manage your weight and supplement wisely. But the first and most important step is to schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss your potential risks, have your C-reactive protein levels tested. Then you can work with your physician to establish a lifestyle regimen that works best for you.
- Jensen, G. Evaluation of Activity Levels, Inflammatory Markers, and Overall Wellness. 2019.