Harvard Men's Health Watch

On call: CRP in older men

On call

CRP in older men

Q. I've been hearing a lot about C-reactive protein and heart attacks. I want to stay healthy, but I'm 73 years old, and there seems to be a new worry in every newspaper I read. At my age, does this protein make any difference?

A. Congratulations on your good health — and on keeping up with developments in medicine.

Doctors used to give senior citizens a pass on many risk factors. The reasoning went like this: Since you're in good shape at 73 and your cholesterol (or blood pressure, blood sugar, etc.) hasn't done you any harm, why tinker with it? The logic is a variation on the familiar theme of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a common argument — but in the case of cardiac risk factors in the elderly, it's wrong.

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