Here’s a warning for middle-aged women that might sound straight out of a science fiction novel: If a high level of fluorescent particles show up in your blood under a special light meter, then you may be more likely to develop heart disease in the future – and the more the glow, the higher the risk.

Testing for this, of course, is more high-tech than holding a black light to your skin.

The screening involves a special machine that measures the amount of light emitted by particles when those particles are exposed to light from another source. In this case, it specifically looks for light given off by fluorescent oxidation products, or F1OP.

The key word is oxidation, which can damage and even destroy cells. It may lead to coronary artery disease.

The word fluorescent is where the glowing comes into play. A new study showed the brighter the glow, the more likely it is for a woman to develop heart disease five or more years after her blood is taken, thus making F1OP a potential tool for identifying women who should step up heart disease prevention efforts.

The study also showed that F1OP levels were higher for women who consume more alcohol, have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and are current smokers.

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