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Exercise, Inflammation and the Hearts of Women

( [email protected] ) Feb 24, 2006 05:43 PM EST

This article was brought to you by Truestar Health: The World's Most Comprehensive Nutrition, Fitness & Healthy Lifestyle Resource

In the last seven to ten years, inflammation has been recognized as a significant risk factor for diseases of arteries in the heart. This news is especially significant for women. A large study of nurses showed that the cardio CRP level which is directly related to inflammation was a very important blood test and linked to risk of coronary artery disease. You can request this simple blood test from your doctor. Test results that indicate levels of less than three are desirable, however, it is optimal to have levels of less than one.

Risk Factors

There are many known risk factors for coronary artery disease including smoking, diabetes, cholesterol abnormalities (including low HDL and elevated LDL) and lack of exercise. You can also tell if someone is in a high risk category for coronary artery disease by elevated levels found in these blood test results: homocysteine, CRP, Lip (a), Lp-PLA2 and Fibrinogen.

Lowering Your CRP

Elevated levels of CRP have been associated with conditions such as diabetes, obesity, smoking and arthritis. Lowering an elevated CRP level is not an easy task, but it can be done. The best approach is to combine an aerobic exercise program with proper diet and supplementation. A change of diet may be able to get the level partially down. This usually entails eating less red meat, fried foods and partially hydrogenated fats. Adding cold-water fish such as salmon and omega-3 fatty acid supplements (2 to 4 grams per day) to your diet can also be helpful.

Exercise and CRP

A number of studies have shown that aerobic exercise can lower CRP levels. When you work out, I would recommend exercising at least for 30 minutes in your target heart rate zone, 70 to 85% of your maximum heart rate (220 - your age).Exercise may also lower other inflammatory markers.

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