Researchers have suggested that health screenings for heart attacks and strokes should be determined purely by age.
Published in the open access journal PloS One, the study showed that using a cut off of 55 years had an 84 per cent detection rate and a 24 per cent false-positive detection rate using a modelled population of 500,000 people.
Current screening methods achieve the same 84 per cent detection rate, with a slightly lower false-positive rate of 21 per cent.
Professor Sir Nicholas Wald, lead author of the paper and director of the Wolfson Institute at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, commented: "Prevention is better than measurement. Identifying people at high risk of cardiovascular disease needs to be greatly simplified, enabling people to obtain easy access to preventive treatment from nurses and pharmacists as well as from doctors.
"Offering appropriate preventive treatment to everyone aged 55 and over in England and Wales could prevent over 100,000 heart attacks and strokes every year."