Friday, December 24, 2010

Protein heart tests: A lifesaver or overhyped?

Dianne has always worried about her heart health -- both her parents died of heart attacks -- yet her cholesterol has never been off the charts. All the same, the 59-year-old schoolteacher (who asked that her last name not be used) has been taking a cholesterol-lowering statin for more than two years.

Why? In 2007, Dianne's cardiologist discovered that her blood contained abnormally high levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation. Dr. Yazid Fadl, a cardiologist at Clarian Cardiovascular, in Indianapolis, considered Dianne's high CRP reason enough to prescribe a statin. "If her CRP were low, I would have advocated weight loss and exercise," he says.

Dianne may soon have lots of company. More doctors are testing and treating CRP, particularly since the Food and Drug Administration gave the green light in February to use one statin, Crestor, to treat patients with normal cholesterol but elevated CRP.

The move now makes 6.5 million more people eligible for cholesterol-lowering statins, which are already blockbusters. Crestor reaped $4.5 billion in sales in 2009.

Is CRP a major advance in heart disease prevention? Not everyone's convinced. Some experts have questioned the role of CRP and inflammation in heart disease, and they worry that the new emphasis on CRP will lead to overuse of statins. Read more...

Detox drink, healthy detox, colon detox

No comments: