Millions of people in the UK could be at high risk of developing heart disease without even knowing it, according to a major new study.
One in three who are most at risk of getting cardiovascular disease (CVD) over the next decade have yet to be diagnosed, researchers said.
The study by Oxford University screened more than 71,000 people aged 18 and over in 35 towns and cities across England, Wales and Scotland.
The results, published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, show that 7.9 million people have already been diagnosed with CVD or have a medically recognised risk of developing the disease. But there are a further 2.8 million men and 900,000 women who face a high risk but have not been diagnosed. This means that they have not received the treatment and advice that could prevent them from developing CVD.
The shortfall in identifying those at risk is greatest among middle-aged men, the study found.
Lead author Professor Andrew Neil, said: "Our findings reinforce the need for a national CVD risk assessment programme and we welcome the announcement by the Department of Health that plans are being put in place to institute primary care checks."