Testing urine for high blood glucose and protein levels could help to identify people most at risk of developing heart disease, say experts.
Australian researchers recently followed up on health checks carried out between 1998 and 2000 on indigenous people from 26 remote communities in far north Queensland.
The teams from the University of South Australia and Queensland's Tropical Public Health Unit found just over 1700 were free of coronary heart disease at the time of screening.
By the beginning of 2006 the disease was blamed for 121 deaths and hospitalisations, according to the report published in The Medical Journal of Australia.
Researcher Robyn McDermott said the biggest indicators of potential heart disease appeared to be high glucose and protein levels, which are both preventable.
"High fasting glucose levels and albuminuria (high levels of protein) found during routine adult health checks should therefore be actively managed and monitored, even in the absence of diabetes," Prof McDermott said.
"They can be measured simply, lend themselves to cardioprotective interventions and should be routinely used to estimate risk and monitor effectiveness of treatment."
Other traditional risk factors, such as smoking, weight and blood pressure, accounted for a small increase in the risk of coronary heart disease among participants.