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High Levels of C-Reactive Protein Appear to Indicate Higher Heart Attack Risk

For many years, cholesterol has been viewed as a key cause of cardiovascular disease and heart attack.  Now, researchers are convinced that inflammation is also involved in the process of cardiovascular disease.  In fact, researchers now believe that cholesterol would not be nearly as dangerous to the heart and blood vessels if it were not for the inflammatory process.  When you develop high cholesterol, cholesterol deposits on the walls of your blood vessels.  In time, cholesterol actually begins to seep into the walls of your blood vessels. This seepage triggers an inflammatory response.  The inflammatory response in turn promotes the further accumulation of cholesterol in the blood vessel walls, and a vicious cycle begins involving ever greater cholesterol accumulations and ever greater levels of inflammation.  Inflammation in the blood vessels causes the cells to give off a substance called C-reactive protein.  Recent studies have shown that C-reactive protein may be more effective than cholesterol in gauging the risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular events.