Lately there have been several celebrity deaths, caused by heart failures. It is actually not an uncommon cause of death, which means that people should be aware of the condition of their health and take care of themselves. What if the risk of heart attack could be estimated quickly and reliably? Scientists from the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow say it is possible.
Actually, it is not that big of a discovery. However, it is a very important one.
A new research revealed that troponin test, currently used to help diagnose a heart attack, could be used to assess future heart disease risk. And the best part about it is that troponin test is just a simple blood test. This would allow people, who could potentially get the heart attach, reducing this risk by taking some medicine, for example, statins. Or, if taking medicine regularly is not an option for one reason or another, this person can at least monitor his health more carefully, adjust his diet and do other little things to aid his heart. Of course, there were ways to assess heart attack risk before, such as measuring blood pressure or cholesterol, but this new method is promised to be much more accurate and effective.
3,000 men with high cholesterol but no history of heart disease were invited to participate in the study, to see if troponin test could measure the risk of heart attack. Troponin is a molecule, which leaks into blood when heart tissue is damaged. And so the study showed that those men, who had higher troponin level, were more likely to suffer a heart attack or die from coronary heart disease. What to do with this information? Researchers also revealed that statins, medicines that are used to lower heart disease risk, reduce the levels of troponin.
The heart condition, leading to a heart attack is usually completely silent, not showing any symptoms. Troponin test is quick and easy way to identify people who have higher risk of getting a heart attack and thus treatment can be targeted towards them more effectively. Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, one of the authors of the study, said: “These experiments need to be repeated in a wider group of patients. If these prove successful, this test could easily be administered by GPs during standard check-ups, and could ultimately save lives”.
Coronary heart disease, which is the cause of heart attacks, takes nearly 70,000 lives every year in UK alone. An easy and reliable test could help preventing at least a part of these cases.