Is there a better test to gauge heart attack risk than the time-honored cholesterol screening?
A panel of specialists argues in the current “Journal of Clinical Lipidology” that patients considered at intermediate risk for heart disease should consider blood tests in addition to the traditional cholesterol numbers.
Large scale studies found that C-reactive protein (CRP), a protein found in the blood that rises proportionally with inflammation, was a better predictor of heart attack than LDL, HDL, or total cholesterol.
In fact, one study showed that levels of C-reactive protein were an accurate predictor of future heart disease even in patients who had low LDL, or bad cholesterol.
“Because traditional risk scoring and routine cholesterol screenings miss a significant percentage of patients at risk for events, consideration might be given to routine inclusion of CRP,” the panel of experts wrote in the article.
The panel went on to say the CRP tests were “reasonable” for men over 50 and women over 60 and may be considered for younger individuals who are at intermediate risk for heart attack, which includes the majority of the population, according to panel member Dr. Michael H. Davidson.