Simple Blood Test Detects Hidden Heart Disease

Heart disease—the leading cause of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO)—is often diagnosed with blood pressure and cholesterol tests. Now researchers say there may be a better way to assess heart risk.

An inexpensive blood test can be used to detect heart disease in people who appear to be healthy. The blood test, called troponin, measures proteins that are released when heart muscle is damaged. This test is already used to help diagnose heart attack in some patients.

In a recent study, researchers funded by the British Heart Foundation looked at 3,300 men with high cholesterol but no history of heart disease. They found that men with high blood levels of troponin were more likely to have a heart attack or die of heart disease within 15 years. Preventive treatment—cholesterol-lowering statin therapy, for example—lowered troponin levels and heart attack risk in a number of men in the study. More research—in women, for example—is needed.

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Sourced from BBC News.