With the average doctor’s visit lasting only about seven minutes, it’s crucial that you go in armed with information and questions vital to your health.
What specific things do you need to know for optimal health?
If you don’t know what to ask for, you might miss the opportunity to get the information you need from your doctor. It’s left to you to educate yourself and your family, and I’m here to help.
Know your numbers – it’s crucial!
This is the second of my six part series on Getting the Most from your Doctor. In part one of this series, I talked about optimal blood pressure and gave you some tips on how to decrease your blood pressure.
In this second installment, I’ll share with you the numbers you want to know and the questions you want to ask your doctor about inflammation and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP).
Inflammation and hs-CRP
Hs-CRP is a marker for inflammation around the heart. This marker has been shown to be an independent risk factor for heart disease – just like cholesterol is. But many doctors don’t check this number. And it is such an important number to know when looking at your risk for heart disease.
In addition, ANY inflammation in your body will increase the risk of getting every disease under the sun. Even Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. So you want to make sure that your hs-CRP, your inflammation level, is low.
How to Decrease Inflammation
When testing for hs-CRP, between 1-3 mg/L is considered average. But we want our hs-CRP to be less than 1 mg/L, because that is really considered optimal.
So what do you do to have a lower hs-CRP? What do you do to lower your levels of inflammation around the heart?
Fish oil, with its omega-3 fatty acids – especially EPA – is a great option. EPA is a really effective natural anti-inflammatory. You can get these omega-3s by eating foods like salmon, walnuts, avocados, etc…, but to get high enough levels of EPA to lower inflammation, you may really want to take fish oil supplements.
Fish oils are a great way to decrease your inflammation. And it’s important to take a pharmaceutical grade fish oil supplement, because low quality fish oil supplements can be contaminated with toxins, mercury, and PCBs.
Eat Clean to lower your Inflammation
You can also lower your inflammation by exercising and eating a clean diet. Eating clean means eating foods that come from nature (in their natural forms as much as possible), and staying away from processed foods.
Fish oil, exercise, and a clean diet are an important part of any healthy lifestyle, but are especially crucial when dealing with an elevated hs-CRP. Know your numbers – have your doctor check your hs-CRP, and if it’s elevated, take steps to decrease your inflammation.
I’d love to hear your feedback. Let me know if you find this article helpful. Leave your comments below or on my Facebook page. Be sure to let me know what other topics you want to hear about! Thanks
Wishing you the best of great health, great happiness and, of course, great sex.
Dr. Jen, Sexpert MD
how much fish oil do you recommend for adults? for children? also, there are three camps claiming that their version of a “clean” diet is anti-inflammatory: grain-free, gluten-free, (both of which tend to rely on organic, free range meat) and vegetarian (which relies on whole grains), both promoting high quantities of organic produce. each camp can also produce anecdotal evidence of people who have recovered from disease. does science take a position on which camp is right or does it depend on the individual’s sensitivities? happy to hear your thoughts. many thanks.
Great Series, Thanks so much for this Dr. Jen! I have learned that most doctors don’t go the extra mile to discuss blood test results and especially don’t get into “optimal” levels of where things ‘should’ be. Actually, I just realized that I had blood tests at my migraine doctor two visits ago and last visit, I forgot to ask. (so not like me) Shoot. I am calling his nurse now. I have no idea where my CRP is but my dad had his FIRST triple bypass at 41 and I am 40. Great article as always! Thanks Dr.Jen! Lu