Every year cardiovascular disease causes an approx 17 million deaths in the world, accounting for one-third of all worldwide deaths. You will also notice that one-third of these deaths only occur in middle-aged adults. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both, men and women. A recent study at Newcastle University in the UK, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, reported that something as simple as a blood test might be able to identify one’s cardiovascular aging. This can reduce the risk of developing heart diseases.
The study included a team of international scientists, including Professor Konstantinos Stellos from Newcastle University. It examined blood samples of over 6,600 people from nine different countries. In analyzing the samples, they found that the patients could be divided into high to low-risk categories of CVD disease, based on their amyloid-beta levels in the blood.
Although commonly known for being associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease, the researchers have concluded that amyloid-beta protein can also be responsible for vascular stiffening, thickening of the arteries, heart failure, and other related conditions.
"Our work has created and put all the pieces of the puzzle together. For the first time, we have provided evidence of the involvement of amyloid-beta in the early and later stages of cardiovascular disease," said study researcher, Konstantinos Stellos.
"What is really exciting is that we were able to reproduce these unexpected, clinically meaningful findings in patients from around the world. In all cases, we observed that amyloid-beta is a biomarker of cardiovascular aging and of cardiovascular disease prognosis," Stellos added.
The report from the study also reveals that a higher level of amyloid-beta in the blood can result in faster development of serious heart complications.
It is being hoped that in the near future, this study will help to develop a simple blood test that could be used as a clinical biomarker to identify a patient’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The blood test would be a part of the current method of patient screening, called the GRACE score. This is done by calculating factors such as age, blood pressure, kidney function and elevated biomarkers to predict the risk of a heart attack.
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