Wednesday, October 30, 2019

CRP: Biomarker of Health and Longevity

Photo by Benoit LERAY.

I have grown more curious about the technical information related to blood tests I undergo during my annual check up.

My curiosity was sparked a few years ago when I read a summary of a study about biomarkers. That lead me to read the scientific article behind the summary.

I decided that as a gerontologist and a person who lives in an aging body that I should learn about each of these 18 biomarkers of health and longevity.

This week, I have been reading about the biomarker highly sensitive c-reactive protein, abbreviated hs-CRP or CRP.

Note: I am not a medical professional. This post serves only to increase awareness. If you have a question about your CRP levels or any element of your health, see a licensed medical professional as soon as possible. 

CRP is a protein made by your liver that is present in your blood. Elevated levels of CRP show the body is responding to an inflammation, indicating that something isn't right.

Highly sensitive c-reactive protein (hs-CRP) is a non-specific marker of disease. 

Optimum levels of CRP are 1.0 mg/L or lower
Moderate levels of CRP are between 1.0 and 3.0 mg/L
Concerning levels of CRP are 3.0 mg/L or higher

CRP is not just an indication of heart problems, but high levels do correspond. Consequently, emergency room doctors and cardiologists use this test to find evidence of cardiovascular disease or a heart event.

WebMD states that one study fount that "testing for CPR levels is a better indicator of cardiovascular disease than the LDL [low-density lipo protein] test."

Elevated CRP levels can suggests the presence of the following:
  • chronic inflammation diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and vasculitis
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • infections (such as pneumonia and tuberculosis) 
  • heart attack
  • obstructive sleep apnea
  • trauma 
  • burns
  • exposure to environmental toxins such as second-hand smoke
  • stress
  • sedentary lifestyle
  • poor diet (too much processed food)
  • certain cancers
Sources for the bulleted list above: MedicineNet * Dr. Weil * Wikipedia

Because CRP can be caused by many factors, people wanting to prevent high levels need to adopt a healthy lifestyle: diet, exercise, smoking cessation, stress management as directed by their primary physician. 

If CRP levels are already high, then the treatment may require medical intervention (surgery, medicine, therapy) in addition to adopting a healthier lifestyle. A team of health care professionals can conduct further tests, diagnose and treat the underlying cause for the elevated CRP levels. They can also provide patient education. 

All my best to you, dear readers, as you strive for wellness in mind, body, and soul.


Biomarkers for Health and Longevity


  1. Your post got me to check my most recent blood results. There are about 30 items on the list (in my case, all normal except my cholesterol is a teeny bit high), but no CRP. Do you know if Medicare will cover this if I ask my doctor next time around?

    1. Oh, that's a really good question. The billing people at your PCP would know. It probably depends on indicators the doctor sees as reasonable for running the test, such as high risk for a heart attack or if you had symptoms within 48 hours that may have been a mild heart attack. Then the presence of elevated CRP might get you a referral to a cardiologist. For sure, I'd ask the next time you go. Have a lovely week, Tom. Thanks for stopping by the TGAM blog.

  2. I will ask for this test the next time around. It is another indicator to ponder over.

  3. Thanks for this info, Karen. Like Tabor, I hope to get tested next time, too. Will you be sharing more biomarkers with us?

    1. Pam: I still have a few more to research, but if you click on the link in the post that says "This post is part of a series on biomarkers" you will see links to biomarkers such as waist-hip ratio, A1C, gum health, and more. Here is the link in this comment, too: