Too often, heart disease is diagnosed when people begin to show symptoms such as arrhythmia, high blood pressure or — the worst-case scenario — cardiac arrest.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., but there are many steps people can take to lower their likelihood of suffering from its most tragic manifestations, like a heart attack or stroke.

Now, a promising new study published by the American Hospital Association supports a blood test’s ability to predict heart disease before any symptoms emerge.

The study looked at thousands of middle-aged patients with no signs of heart disease going back to blood samples taken in the 1990s.

The plasma in this “ ’90s blood” was tested for the troponin-I protein, and the protein’s levels consistently correlated with those patients who experienced a variety of cardiovascular disease events, including heart failure and stroke, within about 15 years.

According to the study, troponin-I complements another heart disease indicator, known as hs-Tnl, both of which seem to be present in presumably healthy people who go on to develop a form of potentially deadly heart disease.

Heart disease is a formidable medical challenge, and innovations like these gives potential sufferers a whole new edge.

The correlations were stronger in women than in men, and stronger in white people than in black people.

Abbott, the manufacturer of high-sensitivity troponin-I blood tests, is the big winner to emerge from the study’s findings, but really this breakthrough benefits humanity in general.

Heart disease is a formidable medical challenge, and innovations like these gives potential sufferers a whole new edge.

Armed with an accurate early warning system, we can now take the necessary steps — with great certainty — to prevent the disease from claiming so many lives.   

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