CRP shown to predict heart disease among patients with metabolic syndrome

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Researchers show that people with risk factors may benefit by having C-reactive protein levels checked

It is estimated that over 50 million people in the United States have at least three of the five medical problems that result in a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome. In a study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), 14,719 female participants were followed for eight years. Among those followed, 3,597 women were diagnosed with metabolic syndrome upon entering the study. Women in the study with metabolic syndrome who had the highest levels of C-reactive protein, or CRP, were over two times more likely to have a cardiovascular event than those who only had metabolic syndrome. Previous studies have linked high CRP levels to increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and Type II diabetes. “We showed that even for these women with metabolic syndrome, CRP testing was useful in showing who was at low, moderate, and high risk,” said the study’s lead author, Paul Ridker, of BWH, and a professor at Harvard Medical School. “Thus, CRP is picking up many components of the metabolic syndrome we have been otherwise unable to measure in daily clinic practice.” The findings appeared in the January 2003 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.