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Healthy Heart Reports

Alcohol Lowers Crp

A study from Harvard Medical School shows that drinking alcohol lowers blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP).

Doctors now know that it's not just cholesterol that causes heart attacks. Another culprit is inflammation. When a germ gets into your bloodstream, white blood cells release chemicals called cytokines to bring in fluid to carry antibodies to attach to the germs, other white blood cells that gobble up the invader and so forth. The reaction of redness, swelling, and pain is called inflammation, and we now know that it can damage the inner linings of arteries to form plaques.

Drinking alcohol lowers blood levels of C-Reactive Protein which measures inflammation, and therefore apparently helps to prevent heart attacks. Fat cells release cytokines, so obesity causes inflammation. Smoking, chronic infections, and high blood sugar levels also cause inflammation to increase risk for heart attacks. If you have high blood levels of CRP, ask your doctor to look for a hidden infection or other cause.

Alcohol consumption and plasma concentration of C-reactive protein. Circulation, 2003, Vol 107, Iss 3, pp 443-447. MA Albert, RJ Glynn, PM Ridker. Albert MA, Brigham & Womens Hosp, Div Cardiovasc, 75 Francis St, Boston,MA 02115 USA


Copyright 2003
Dr. Mirkin's opinions and the references cited are for information only, and are not intended to diagnose or prescribe. For your specific diagnosis and treatment, consult your doctor or health care provider.

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