Body Tip Normal cholesterol is only one piece of the heart disease equation. For more information, get a C-reactive protein test.

A normal cholesterol reading doesn’t mean your heart is in the clear. In fact, good cholesterol is only part of the equation. Fifty percent of those who die from coronary artery disease (CAD) have normal cholesterol readings and no prior symptoms. Another test, the high-sensitivity C-reactive protein assay, or CRP, can also help determine your risk. The CRP test measures levels of inflammation in your body. High levels may indicate inflammation or swelling in the arteries and are linked to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and sudden death. The Cleveland Clinic recommends the CRP test for people with one or more risk factors for heart disease. These risk factors include high blood pressure, diabetes, a family history of heart disease, a history of smoking and obesity. If one or more of these describes you, talk to your doctor about getting tested.

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