Research has proven that elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) levels increase the risk for cardiovascular (heart) disease. A recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine identified elevated CRP levels as a stronger predictor of heart attacks than high LDL cholesterol levels, and recommended both: CRP and cholesterol screening for accurate risk assessment of heart disease.
The medical and dental communities are looking into ways to reduce known risks that cause unhealthy increases of this destructive protein. Current studies indicate that inflammation from gum disease can trigger the liver to make CRP, inflaming arteries and promoting blood clot formation.
Studies are also suggesting that “Periodontal disease should be considered as a major contributor to increased levels of CRP by the medical community” and that Periodontal Disease and body mass index are jointly associated with increased CRP in otherwise healthy adults. “To reduce levels of CRP, and presumably the risk of cardiovascular disease, not only would it be important to lose weight if you are overweight, but it would also be important to get your gums treated.”
CRP testing is now available in many hospitals and health centers. The American Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are developing a summary on whether CRP levels should be routinely tested to diagnose heart disease or to monitor progress of treatments. Dr. Wolf will work with your physician to determine if a simple CRP blood test or other blood work (cholesterol, blood sugar tests) are recommended to determine your risk and to monitor changes in your C-reactive protein levels with periodontal treatment.
In the future we may offer these routine tests to help your physician with early diagnosis of potential serious health risks.