Heart disease: New blood test a ‘game-changer’ in preventing heart problems

Cardiovascular disease is still one of the biggest killers in the UK. In 2015, almost 160,000 Britons died from cardiovascular disease. Public Health England said: “Unhealthy lifestyles put four in five adults at risk of early death. People should quit smoking, eat a healthy diet and get enough exercise.” Screenings for heart disease are extremely important for everyone over the age of 40. Currently, to determine a person’s risk for developing heart disease, medical professionals use a variety of indirect heart health factors, such as cholesterol levels, blood pressure or family history of heart disease.

Cardiovascular diseases remain one of the top causes of premature deaths globally and the need for prevention is critical

Doctor Agim Beshiri, Senior Medical Director at Diagnostics, Abbot

Yet studies have shown that a high sensitive troponin-I blood test could help better predict a person’s risk of a cardiac event potentially years in advance when added to today’s existing heart risk assessments.

Doctor Agim Beshiri, Senior Medical Director at Diagnostics, Abbot said: “Cardiovascular diseases remain one of the top causes of premature deaths globally and the need for prevention is critical.

“While education and awareness need to be at the forefront of this battle, a novel tool that gives us specific knowledge about the status of the heart is a big advantage.

“We now have a blood test that provides a direct indicator of injury to the heart, so people can have a clearer picture of their heart health and take the necessary steps to living healthier, fuller lives.”

Doctor Naveed Sattar, Clinician and Professor of metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow said: “Making sustainable lifestyle changes for your heart health sounds simple, but it’s personal and complex for many people.

“Advancements in diagnostic testing of proteins released by the heart, even in many apparently healthy people, are allowing us to better estimate future risks of heart disease so that people can do something about it years before symptoms occur.

Using a cardiac biomarker in this way could be a game-changer towards prevention of heart disease.”

Troponin blood tests detect a protein released directly by the heart and is found in elevated levels in the blood when the heart is injured.

Having a test that indicates early signs of heart disease, in apparently healthy adults, could motivate people to work with their general practitioner to take control of their heart health.

In the recent heart health survey, 93 percent of respondents said they would change their lifestyle immediately if they knew there was direct damage to their heart.

Research was conducted to determine Britons’ attitude to heart health and what was inhibiting people from living healthier lives. This Census wide survey spoke to Britons aged over 35 across the UK with 5,020 respondents.

The survey found that more than 80 per cent admitted to unhealthy lifestyle choices, including a poor diet, regular smoking or a lack of exercise, which are known to increase a person’s chance of having a heart attack.

Only a third of those born between the 1960s and 1980s, known as Generation X, say they have taken any meaningful steps towards better understanding their heart health and less than one in five of these Generation X’s have spoken to a medical professional about their health health.

Age UK suggests ways for a person to ensure a healthy heart:

  • Snack on a handful of nuts
  • Socialise with friends
  • Cut down on booze
  • Choose healthy ways of cooking and preparing food
  • Learn to meditate
  • Add more flaxseed to your diet
  • Try to lose five per cent of your body weight

Eating less saturated fats, more fibre, getting your five a day, eating more fish and checking food labels and packaging are also ways to ensure you have a healthy heart.

Source: Read Full Article