A new study may offer health care providers an additional and effective way for identifying risk of heart disease and stroke in patients. The study, performed by researchers in Canada shows that high levels of a protein (SP-D) that increases in association with lung inflammation is a strong indicator of serious heart health risks.
Health care providers have known that things like smoking and air pollution, which damage the lungs, can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. This is the first study to directly connect signs of lung inflammation to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke though.
The study consisted of more than eight hundred men who were followed for an average period of twelve years. At the end of the follow up period researchers concluded that men with the highest levels of SP-D were more than four times more likely to die from cardiovascular conditions than those with the lowest levels.
Though this study was a relatively small scale effort the results of the research are very promising. If the findings can be repeated on a larger scale this could give doctors and health care providers a faster and more accurate method of determining heart risks. This information could be used to prescribe the most appropriate courses of treatment to at risk patients and to educate those who may be a risk for heart issues on measures of prevention.