According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States. More than 380,000 men die of heart disease each year, accounting for one in four male deaths. Most of us now know that various risk factors, such as obesity, smoking, diabetes or high blood pressure, make us particularly vulnerable to heart-related death. Now, experts are warning men about a risk factor you may have never suspected. Read on to learn why some men are at risk for life-threatening heart disease and what you can do to reduce your chances of developing the problem.
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Chromosomes, made of proteins and DNA, are structures found in the nuclei of cells that contain your genes. Each human cell contains two pairs of 23 chromosomes (46 in total), two of which can differ depending on biological sex. Females have two X chromosomes, while males have one X and one Y chromosome.
However, experts say many men begin to lose their Y chromosomes as they age, a phenomenon scientists call hematopoietic mosaic loss of the Y chromosome (mLOY). “At least 40 percent of men lose some of the Y chromosome in their blood cells by age 70. By age 93, at least 57 percent have lost some,” The New York Times recently reported.
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Although researchers have known about mLOY for decades, much was unknown about its effects on the body. They are now investigating its link to age-related diseases and a higher risk of death in men.
To do this, a group of researchers studied genetically engineered male mice that were “repopulated with bone marrow cells lacking the Y chromosome.” They found that because the mice lost their Y-chromosomes, they developed scar tissue in the heart, resulting in “reduced cardiac function,” impaired heart function, and increased death from heart disease.
A study published in July. 2022 issue of the magazine science, which used mice as subjects, the researchers behind the study believe their findings can be applied to human ailments. Others have supported this notion by finding a causal link between the loss of Y chromosomes and chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
According to some scientists, this may help explain the difference in life expectancy between men and women. According to the CDC, women live an average of five years longer than men. According to the Health Authority’s 2020 report, women live an average of 80 years, while men live an average of 75 years.
2014 study on the topic published in the journal Nature genetics reviewed data from 1,153 men in Sweden. The team found that men who lacked the Y chromosome in a large percentage of their blood cells had a higher risk of dying in later years. “I found that men who lost Y in most of their blood cells lived half as long, only 5.5 years compared to 11.1 years” Lars ForsbergThis was reported by a researcher at Uppsala University and one of the main authors of the study teams.
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The New York Times This suggests that low testosterone levels are not associated with Y chromosome loss and that testosterone supplementation may not benefit men with mLOY.
However, experts say there is one known way to reduce the risk of losing a Y chromosome: quit smoking. In fact, according to a separate study published sciencesmokers are four times more likely to lose all Y chromosomes in their blood cells than non-smokers.
Are you addicted to nicotine? Talk to your doctor for tips on how to quit and to learn more about its benefits.