For women of any age, knowing your hs-CRP levels is invaluable because of its association with living a long and healthy life.
hs-CRP as a beacon for inflammation. Because your liver produces this protein in response to inflammation, hs-CRP is one of the best indicators of inflammation.
Inflammation is our body’s response to a variety of threats or stressors, such as physiological, such as a sprained ankle, or even psychological, such as workplace or financial stress.
While a little inflammation is normal and healthy, a persistently elevated amount can have a dangerous effect on your overall health.
3 Reasons Women Should Know Their hs-CRP Levels
1. Because you can’t always see or feel when something is physically wrong.
Inflammation helps our bodies heal which is why it’s healthy and normal for us to develop acute inflammation, such as when we have a trauma or injury. hs-CRP is your body’s response to internal damage, and is monitored to understand if there’s an infection to organ damage; this also means that the body will get more and more inflamed whenever things go wrong.
Chronic inflammation, though, is associated with many chronic and degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer. In women, hs-CRP monitored with lipid levels can actually help identify the risk of heart disease.
Chronic inflammation is even associated with autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Related reading: There are other less commonly tested biomarkers that can provide an even more complete picture of inflammation Take a closer look at homocysteine and fibrinogen.
2. Because your nutrition and stress habits could be taking a bigger toll than you realize.
Your current eating habits may be contributing to high hs-CRP levels because there are certain foods that contribute to inflammation, such as sugar, additives, refined grains.
Common snacks and meals grabbed on the go, like muffins, pizza, cookies, bread, cereal, cakes, chips, crackers, and candy, all contain inflammation-inducing ingredients.
Your day-to-day eating habits can unintentionally incorporate these foods to an unhealthy excess, especially if you’re not aware if they’re hiding in your food.
Stress and prolonged inflammation are also associated. As featured in the New York Times, Danish researchers found that “After controlling for smoking, income, education and other factors, they found that the higher the level of CRP, the more likely a person was to use antidepressants, to have been hospitalized for depression and to feel he or she had “not accomplished much” or “should just give up.’”
The researchers found that higher blood levels of CRP are associated with a greater risk of psychological stress and clinical depression. The researchers also noted the possibility that depression itself may lead to increased inflammation.
Monitoring hs-CRP can shine a light on if you need to adjust your nutrition and stress management.
3. Because hs-CRP is linked to breast cancer and its aggressiveness
A recent meta-analysis indicated that elevated CRP levels are associated with increased risk of breast cancer, and especially among the asian population. As detailed in the study, breast cancer is the second most common cancer worldwide and, by far, the most frequent cancer among women.
The Copenhagen Breast Cancer Study, mentioned on breastcancer.org, looked at 2,910 women diagnosed with early-stage or advanced-stage invasive breast cancer. The researchers wanted to see if there was a link between CRP levels at diagnosis and how the women did after treatment.
The results showed that the higher a woman’s CRP level at diagnosis, the worse her prognosis was. Researchers divided women in three groups of CRP levels – lowest third, middle third, and highest third. In projected overall survival, disease-free survival, and risk of dying from breast cancer by 5 years, the overall risk of the cancer coming back at 5 years was highest for women with CRP levels in the highest third, and lowest for women with CRP levels in the lowest third.
In addition to a healthy diet, not smoking, and limiting alcohol intake, managing your hs-CRP may be one more way you might be able to help reduce your risk for breast cancer.
How WellnessFX Can Help
WellnessFX created a Women’s Health specialty panel because each woman’s body has specific needs that have the potential to impact weight gain, sleep, energy, mood, longevity and more. Empower yourself with an in-depth understanding of your health, fertility, and risk for disease, so you can make educated, informed choices.
We believe in the power in a drop of blood. Regularly testing your biomarkers via many of our Main (Baseline, Performance or Premium) or Specialty (Women’s Health, Advanced Heart) tests will give you an accurate assessment of where you are now while starting the process of regularly monitoring your hs-CRP levels to see how much you might need to improve.
The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.