A Simple Blood Test Could Be A Game Changer In Predicting Heart Attacks

Heart attacks are typically difficult to predict. It requires talking about family history, running stress tests, CT scans, MRIs, and electrocardiograms (via Healthline). But a new blood test could change that, making it quick and simple to anticipate who is at risk of a heart attack.

When the heart muscle doesn't get enough blood, a heart attack can occur (via CDC). The longer the heart goes without blood flow, the higher the likelihood of damage to the heart. You're more likely to be at risk for a heart attack if you have high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, or are a smoker. Heart attacks are incredibly common — someone in the U.S. experiences one every 40 seconds (via CDC).

However, one in five heart attacks is silent, meaning that the damage is done even if you're not aware of it. While you can't change genetics, you can make changes to your lifestyle that could help decrease your risk for heart disease, including not smoking, moving your body regularly, getting good sleep, managing stress, and getting regular screenings (via Mayo Clinic).

How a quick blood test could help

Now, a new blood test could indicate how likely you are to experience a heart attack within the next four years, according to a study recently published in Science Translational Medicine. Researchers at SomaLogic in Boulder, Colorado looked at 5,000 proteins in blood samples from 22,849 people, and they identified 27 proteins that could predict the risk of heart disease (via Healthline). While the study is still new, researchers say that this test could be twice as accurate as other forms of testing.

The testing still needs to be performed in larger populations to prove its validity, and it was noted that this study was done on those at high-risk for heart disease, so it needs to expand to those who are at low and medium risk, too (via Healthline). However, this nascent blood test is already being used in four healthcare systems in the country. If it holds up in larger studies, this could be a game changer for understanding and treating heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the U.S. (via CDC).