Something as simple as a blood test could now be used to asses your risk of having a heart attack in the next five years.
The study by Imperial College London and University College London revealed that measuring the levels of antibodies in the blood can become a key marker in predicting how well-prepared a person's body is for protecting against a heart attack.
The antibody lgG is the most common in the body and is used to protect against bacterial and viral infections.
Measuring this antibody is relatively cheap which means that in the future it could become far easier for clinicians to more accurately determine a person's risk of having a heart attack.
Coronary heart disease is the UK's single biggest killer and the leading cause of death in the world. 70,000 people in the UK die each year from the disease.
This study is the first time that researchers have been able to pair a strong immune system to the body's ability to prevent a heart attack.
Dr Ramzi Khamis, consultant cardiologist and Independent Clinical Research Fellow at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, said: “Linking a stronger, more robust immune system to protection from heart attacks is a really exciting finding."
“We hope that we can use this new finding to study the factors that lead some people to have an immune system that helps protect from heart attacks, while others don’t. We also hope to explore ways of strengthening the immune system to aid in protecting from heart disease.”
This could mean that some people who had previously been considered at high-risk of a heart attack actually already have the immune system in place to protect them.
Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, which helped fund the research, said: “Whether measurement of IgG will become a valuable tool for improving prediction of heart attack needs more investigation, but this well-designed study does provide further evidence for the role of the immune system in heart disease and the protective effects of IgG."
“Heart attacks devastate thousands of families across the UK each year and research like this is vital to improving diagnosis so doctors are able to act fast and try to prevent a potentially deadly incident.”