New Study: This Simple Blood Test Can Measure Your Risk of Heart Disease
Just in time for Heart Awareness Month, researchers have found that a simple blood test for levels of troponin can measure heart health and the risk of future heart disease.
Troponin is one of the proteins tested for in hospital emergency rooms to determine whether someone who comes in with chest pain has had a heart attack.
Now researchers in Norway have discovered that high levels of troponin in the blood can also identify people at risk.
Two new studies show that people with heart disease had high levels troponin in their blood long before they had symptoms, compared to people who did not have heart disease.
Cardiac researchers have long sought a simple blood test that can predict who is at greatest risk of developing heart disease. Until now, cholesterol and C-reactive protein levels have been used to assess risk but troponin has been found to be a more reliable indicator.
The studies also show that an increase of troponin over time indicates an increase in the risk of heart disease.
The Norwegian researchers thawed frozen blood samples from a large health survey of more than 9,000 people. None had symptoms of heart disease.
The blood samples were divided into three groups, based on whether they had low, moderate or high values of troponin.
The researchers then compared these findings with records of hospitalizations and deaths until 2010. By that time, roughly 8 per cent of the participants had had a heart attack or heart failure.