Knowing you have periodontal disease is the first step. The next step toward health is to determine if the disease is impacting your systemic health. There are two simple "finger stick" tests done at the Dental Wellness Center which will help you determine your systemic health risk. The tests are: High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (CRP). C-Reactive Protein is a protein produced in the liver that circulates in the blood. CRP levels increase when the body is fighting off an infection or when inflammation is present. Blockages in blood vessels called plaque are collections of products contained in cells, including CRP. Elevated levels of CRP may predict risk of heart attack up tp eight years in advance, can also increase the risk of a heart attack by seven fold, and are also an indication of cancerous activity. While most people over the age of 40 have annual cholesterol testing, CRP testing is new. Since 50% of people who have heart attackes or stroke have normal cholesterol levels, adding CRP testing can increase the predictability of heart attack or stroke. If you have High CRP because of inflammation, removing the inflammation can lower the CRP and may reduce the risk of future coronary events.