Researchers in Finland and Estonia have developed a new technique that could help predict how soon you'll be kicking the proverbial bucket.

Scientists screened more than 17,000 samples looking for biomarkers, which are basically biological indicators of abnormalities that could result in an early death. They found four biomarkers — albumin, alpha-1-acid glycoprotein, citrate and the size of low-density lipoprotein particles, which indicated an overall weakness of the body.  While these molecules can be found in any person's blood, the amount could help predict one's risk of dying within the next five years.

The abnormalities were found present in the blood of people who had died not long after their blood was drawn. The original connection among the four biomarkers and risk of short-term death held steady, even after removing other factors that could have led to early deaths. The researchers hope that this technique could be used a cost-effective method of screening mass amounts of blood to help identify individuals who seem healthy but may have underlying illnesses.