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C-reactive protein (CRP) is produced or synthesized by the liver and is found in the blood. The level of CRP in the blood increases in direct correlation to the effects of a stressor in the form of inflammation. The connection between CRP and diabetes is that monitoring the rate of CRP production is useful in predicting the onset of diabetes and as a tool for treating the disease more effectively.
Inflammation is a response of body tissue to irritants, activities of disease-carrying pathogens and any type of damage to the cells. As such, CRP plays an important role in measuring the progress of a disease. It also helps healthcare professionals gauge how effective a treatment is. If the patient's CRP level remains elevated, it means that the source of the inflammation continues to trigger the inflammatory response unabated. It is this function as a marker for measuring the state of health that serves as a link between CRP and diabetes.
Diabetes is a lifelong disease that leads to other potentially fatal health consequences if it is not managed properly. Some of these consequences include cardiovascular complications such as atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. A high-sensitivity C-reactive protein test can help determine whether there is any risk for such a complication.
Inflammation can lead to the damage of artery linings by causing the accumulation of atherosclerotic plaque, making a heart attack more probable. Diabetics who have especially high CRP levels are more likely to have heart attacks or strokes than those who have lower CRP levels. They also have a greater probability of having other cardiovascular events, such as angioplasty or bypass surgery.
Another connection between CRP and diabetes is that a high level of CRP might also indicate the onset of type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is occurs when the pancreas cannot produce the necessary amount of insulin to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. It also is more frequently diagnosed in children than in adults. Children who develop type 1 diabetes most often have a high level of CRP right before the disease sets in. This serves as a sort of indicator of the progression of the disease.
Knowing the association between CRP and diabetes helps healthcare professionals manage the health of pregnant women. Some pregnant women who have high CRP levels while in their first trimester might have a higher risk of eventually developing gestational diabetes. If their levels of CRP are very high, the pregnant women might have to be placed on regimens of insulin injections.
The people who have the highest risk of developing heart disease include diabetics, men older than 45, women older than 55, those who are overweight and those who have are genetically predisposed to having a heart attack. People who have high blood pressure are also at risk. Health experts recommend that people who fall within these groups should be tested for CRP. The outcome of a CRP test will determine the next course of action that a doctor will take.
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