Kind attention, smokers! Want to know whether you at risk of developing heart disease? Go and get the nicotine content in your toenail clippings measured at a clinical laboratory, suggests a new study.
An international team has carried out the study on more than 60,000 female nurses and found double the level of nicotine in those with heart disease than those without the cardiovascular condition.
According to researchers, it is well established that smokers have a higher risk of heart disease and this test will help to predict the chance.
Study leader Dr Wael Al-Delaimy said because toenails grow slowly -- at a rate of around one cm a year -- they may offer a longer-term estimate of a person's total exposure to tobacco smoke.
"The use of toenail nicotine is a novel way to objectively measure exposure to tobacco smoke and could become a useful test to identify high-risk individuals in the future," the 'BBC News' portal quoted him as saying.
In their study, the researchers found over the period of the research, 900 women were diagnosed with heart disease.
The women in the top fifth for toenail nicotine content were thinner, less active, heavier drinkers, and more likely to have high blood pressure or diabetes, as well as a family history of heart attack, compared to those with less nicotine in their toenails, the researchers found.
After taking other risk factors into account, they estimated that those with the top fifth levels of nicotine had almost four times the risk of heart disease than those in the bottom fifth.