A woman blows breath out of her mouth as she sits on her couch. She is going through menopause and is having a hot flash.

Why are people monitoring their CRP levels? Know your cardiac risk during menopause

May 30, 2024

For those who experience menopause, this major life transition is often marked with widely fluctuating hormone levels. This hormonal shift can be linked to unpleasant symptoms like hot flashes, trouble with sleep and mood changes. There’s also another significant effect to watch out for: the increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Did you know a substance called C-reactive protein (CRP) can offer insights into your cardiovascular health? Here’s what you need to know about CRP and how hs-CRP testing can help you better understand your heart health as you go through menopause.

What is CRP and how does an hs-CRP test help detect CVD?

CRP is a substance that the liver produces in response to inflammation. During menopause, CRP levels may increase due to lower levels of estrogen, which has anti-inflammatory properties. The change in CRP levels can be detected more easily with a high-sensitivity CRP (hs-CRP) test, which is more sensitive than a standard CRP test, and therefore better able to detect smaller increases in CRP—an indicator of risk for developing CVD.

Along with blood cholesterol analysis and blood pressure readings, hs-CRP can provide additional insights into cardiovascular health. While an hs-CRP test is not a definitive diagnostic tool, elevated hs-CRP levels during menopause could be an early warning sign of underlying inflammation or potential CVD risk. This information can prompt further investigation and encourage lifestyle changes to reduce inflammation and improve heart health.


Why should hs-CRP be tested?

The higher your hs-CRP level, the greater your risk of heart attack, stroke, sudden cardiac death, peripheral arterial disease and coronary artery disease. If your provider feels testing is indicated, checking hs-CRP levels during menopause may help identify those at a potentially higher risk for developing heart disease and help individuals start taking preventative measures.


Managing your hs-CRP levels

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle during and after menopause is important for your overall well-being. Studies show you may be able to lower your hs-CRP levels through healthy lifestyle habits including:

  • Diet: Following an anti-inflammatory diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and healthy fats like olive oil, while limiting sugar, refined carbs and red meat
  • Exercise: Exercising regularly helps reduce inflammation and improve overall cardiovascular health
  • Weight management: Maintaining a healthy weight can impact inflammation levels
  • Quit smoking: Smoking significantly increases inflammation levels in the body


Stay informed with your hs-CRP levels

Detecting and monitoring hs-CRP levels early can help you and your healthcare provider make informed decisions to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Lowering CRP levels is a positive step and optimizing your overall cardiovascular health can have a positive impact on your long-term health through the menopausal transition and beyond.  Be sure to discuss your overall cardiac risk with your healthcare provider to better understand your cardiovascular health as you progress through your menopause journey.


Who should get an hs-CRP test?

Elevated hs-CRP levels may increase the risk for CVD. Monitoring these levels can be valuable in the early detection and evaluation of your cardiovascular risk as you age. Testing hs-CRP levels may be recommended for a variety of patients, particularly individuals with the following risk factors:

  • A family history of CVD
  • High blood pressure or smoking habits
  • Being overweight
  • Autoimmune disorders like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis


The Labcorp OnDemand Inflammation (hs-CRP) Test is a simple blood test that measures your hs-CRP level and enables you to partner with your healthcare provider for personalized insights. Together, you can make informed decisions about your health plan for optimal outcomes.