C-reactive protein, or CRP, is a complex set of proteins produced by the liver. Your body makes more CRP when a major infection or trauma occurs in any area affecting the immune system. Along with an underlying medical cause, lifestyle habits and genetics regulate the amount of CRP produced. Low CRP levels are favorable for health, and a combination of factors aid in keeping levels low, or in a normal range.
Video of the Day
CRP Range and Testing
Inflammation in the body typically causes CRP levels to build up in your bloodstream. A CRP test ordered by your physician can indicate a potential risk for health complications, including cardiovascular disease and inflammatory infections. A positive test confirms inflammation somewhere in the body, but the test is non-specific to the location of injury. Additional testing is required to pinpoint the underlying medical cause. A CRP test is done by drawing blood and a lab analysis. A result of 1.0 milligrams per deciliter or less is optimal, indicating a low CRP and low risk of inflammation. A level of 1.0 to 3.0 milligrams per deciliter puts you at average risk, and CRP levels of 3.0 milligrams per deciliter or higher places you at high risk for disease.
High CRP levels correlate with the risk of heart attack or stroke, a 2003 article in "Circulation" notes. Diet is a factor you can control to cause your CRP levels to be lower into a safe range. Dietary changes also aid in lowering cholesterol, which doubles your risk of cardiovascular disease and high CRP. Follow a diet low in saturated fat that is plentiful in fibrous fruits, vegetables and grains to reduce CRP and maintain healthy. A produce-rich diet can lower your CRP levels by an average of 30 percent when followed daily, according to Virginia Hopkins Health Watch. Consult your physician for exact dietary recommendations based on your overall health status.
A daily program of exercise and a healthy diet lowers your CRP and risk of inflammation. In as little as 30 minutes a day, you can boost your immune system and lower CRP by simply taking a brisk walk. Work out in 10 minute blocks, three times a day, if you cannot dedicate 30 consecutive minutes. Moderate exercise can include swimming, jogging, aerobics classes and walking. With the advice of your physician, create a routine that works best for your health.
Health Management and Healthy Lifestyle
C-reactive protein levels rise from infection and injury, which is why getting regular health exams can prevent harmful levels. Manage your blood pressure, cholesterol and existing health problems to keep your CRP low. Anti-inflammatory medicines like aspirin might also help to reduce CRP, but consult your physician before you use them. Smoking significantly impacts internal inflammation, and cessation reduces CRP. Consult your physician for smoking cessation referrals to help you quit. The healthier your lifestyle choices, the greater the impact on keeping CRP low and reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.