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Researchers develop blood test to test for heart disease risk in smokers

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

A simple blood test may be capable of identifying smokers who are at the greatest risk of developing heart disease, according to a new study published in the journal Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

The findings could have important implications, as smoking is known to be one of the leading contributors to the development of heart disease, the top cause of death in the U.S. Despite significant efforts in recent years to get people to quit, one in five adults still use tobacco.

For the study, a team of researchers from the UT Southwest Medical Center administered blood tests to smokers. The results showed that those who had heart disease had substantially higher levels of a protein called pulmonary surfactant.

"We now are close to having a blood test to help measure the smoking-related effects that contribute to atherosclerotic heart disease," said lead researcher Anand Rohatgi. "Smoking is one of the biggest contributors to the development of heart disease."

He added that smokers are known to be more likely to experience heart attacks and strokes, but until now it had been difficult identify those who had the greatest risk.

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