Expatriates may soon be able to find out their likelihood of suffering from a cardiovascular problem that can be treated with international health insurance by examining their familial medical history.
Researchers at the University of Nottingham have proven this is a significant tool in assisting healthcare professionals to discover individuals at the highest risk of suffering from heart disease.
Collating this information is acceptable to members of the public, inexpensive and simple, the scientists in the institution's Division of Primary Care department stated.
The investigation was large-scale, controlled and randomised, involving 748 people who had not had any cardiovascular risk previously diagnosed.
These participants were split into two groups, one of which was a control study and the other involved intervention. Those in the latter group provided their doctors with information relating to a family history of heart disease.
Other factors, such as lifestyle, exercise, diet and tobacco consumption were used to ascertain a standard risk of suffering from the illness and if a familial basis was also determined, this figure was multiplied 1.5 times.
Patients determined to have a likelihood of developing heart disease in the next decade that was greater than 20 per cent were invited back for a consultation.
The study was published in Annals of Internal Medicine – which used its editorial to highlight the research – and was led by professor Nadeem Qureshi.
He said: "Recently there has been great interest in performing genetic tests to identify individuals at high risk of heart disease, but our study has found that simply taking a detailed family history may be as effective, if not more, to identify these individuals."
This illness has a wide range of risk factors, including alcohol intake, stress, job, income, ethnicity and other health problems.
It can result in angina, heart attacks, strokes and a range of other conditions, which can prove fatal.