Researchers claim that testing for a protein known as galectin-3 in the blood could identify those at risk of heart failure.
The protein has already been associated with cardiac fibrosis, which is known to play an important role in bringing about heart failure, which increases the risk of death and disability significantly.
Identifying galactin-3 could help doctors to target those at risk of heart failure at an earlier junction, allowing them to intervene with prevention treatments.
The discovery was made when researchers measured protein levels between 1996 and 1998 among 3,353 participants with an average age of 59. During an 11 year follow-up, it was observed that among the 25 per cent of participants with the highest galectin-3 levels, the rate of heart failure per year was 12 per 1,000 people.
This is stark contrast to a rate of three per 1,000 among those with the lowest levels of galactin-3.
The protein was also observed to increase cancer risk in a separate US study, highlighting the need for further research on how to control the effects of this protein.
Find the nearest Barchester care home.