Inflammation anywhere in the body increases levels of a substance
called C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood. Many scientists suspect
slightly elevated CRP levels are a hint that low-level inflammation may
be fueling atherosclerosis and raising the risk for a heart attack,
reports the July issue of Harvard Men's Health Watch.
now, we can't say for certain that lowering CRP will reduce heart
attack risk, but there are clues that it might," says Harvey Simon,
M.D., editor of the Harvard Men's Health Watch. Statin
therapy, moderate alcohol consumption, and low-dose aspirin are all
associated with a reduced risk of coronary artery disease, and studies
find that they also lower CRP levels. And this year, two major studies
found that CRP levels predict risk even when cholesterol-lowering
statins bring LDL cholesterol to very low levels.
Research suggests that exercise can also reduce CRP levels, says the Harvard Men's Health Watch.
In one study, moderate exercisers were 15% less likely than couch
potatoes to have elevated CRP levels, and those who exercised
vigorously were 47% less likely to have a high CRP level. As of 2005,
12 additional studies have reported that people who exercise regularly
have lower CRP levels than their sedentary counterparts.
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