You need cutting edge women's health and baby information that’s safe and effective that you can act on right now. And you want it from the experts you trust most – Nurses. Health4Women.org is your essential source from the leading women’s health and newborn organization with the best advice possible for a healthy life, pregnancy and family.
Maybe you were surprised when a friend of yours had a mild heart attack because she told you her cholesterol levels had been normal.
Well, there’s another lab result that’s also important to consider. A study released last year of almost 18,000 men and women who had normal low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels but high levels of inflammation in their blood (measured by testing their C-reactive protein, or CRP, levels), showed that decreasing the inflammation levels cut their risk of heart attacks and strokes by almost half. This added hefty evidence to the importance of screening for inflammation along with cholesterol testing.
The study participants were given either a cholesterol-lowering drug called a statin or a placebo (sugar pill). The study was supposed to run for 4 years but was stopped after 2 years when it became clear that those taking the statins had fewer numbers of heart attacks and strokes.
Of unique importance in this study was the fact that one-quarter of the participants were black or Hispanic and the reductions in risk held true for all ethnic and racial groups and for both men and women.
Now researchers know that inflammation can be an early marker of developing heart disease, especially among people with apparently normal cholesterol levels and who seem to be in good health otherwise.
Controlling your inflammation is something you can start to do today by increasing your physical activity, eating higher fiber and fewer processed foods, quitting smoking, losing weight, controlling high blood pressure, lowering stress and maintaining good dental hygiene.