Currently, doctors estimate a person's statistical chance of developing heart disease by looking at individual factors such as whether they smoke, their family history, weight, blood cholesterol and blood pressure. Once you get symptoms, more extensive and sometimes invasive tests, such as angiogram are needed to confirm the result and assess severity of damage to the arteries of the heart or elsewhere.
Professor Wong said, "Results from the retinal scan would be delivered to GPs for a better picture of their patient's health.
"The test is simple, has no side effects or risks, which are present for invasive tests like angiograms, and will result in more targeted preventive measures."
Dr Christine Bennett, chair of the MBF Foundation Steering Committee and Bupa Chief Medical Officer*.went on to say, "This early assessment of the likelihood that a person will develop diseases like heart disease, stroke or even type 2 diabetes has the potential to significantly improve quality of life, reduce hospitalisations and the 50,000 deaths each year caused by cardiovascular disease."
Once a person knows their risk they may be able to delay the onset of developing cardiovascular disease by modifying their lifestyle accordingly.
"We know that smoking, too much alcohol, inactivity and poor nutrition are bad for our health but seeing the evidence not with, but in, your own eyes could be the wake-up call that triggers change," Dr Bennett said.
"A range of locations, such as optometrists, ophthalmologists, pathologists and GPs will be assessed to find the best way to make this test accessible to as many at-risk Australians as possible."
*Bupa Australia operates the trusted and respected health insurance brands MB
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