An increased risk in heart attacks in some males could be down to their genes.
A study part-funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) found genetic variations carried on the Y chromosome can “significantly increase” the risk of a heart attack.
The Y chromosome is unique to men.
The BHF says the study might begin to provide a “partial explanation” why Northwestern European men have more heart attacks than their counterparts in other parts of the world.
Scientists from the University of Leicester studied the DNA of over 3,000 British men.
The results, published in The Lancet, show those men carrying a particular Y chromosome were 50% more likely to develop coronary heart disease.
One in five British men are thought to be carrying this version of sex chromosome.
“Lifestyle choices such as poor diet and smoking are major causes, but inherited factors carried in DNA are also part of the picture,” said BHF Research Advisor Dr Hélène Wilson.
“The next step is to identify specifically which genes are responsible and how they might increase heart attack risk.
“This discovery could help lead to new treatments for heart disease in men, or tests that could tell men if they are at particularly high risk of a heart attack.
Coronary heart disease is the main cause of heart attacks, which the BHF claims causes the deaths of around 50,000 UK men every year.
Question: Have you seen heart attacks passed from 'father to son' in your career?
As a nurse I have come across a family link with early CHD, this is now a well known risk factor. I also have tragic personal experience of CHD. My husband died 20 years ago now, very suddenly and unexpectedly, at the age of 34, of an AMI. His own father (my father in law) did not have a cardiac history; but on his mother's side, there was a history of early death of heart attack's. We did not realise this at the time as he had uncles whom he never met as they had died before he was born. His own mother died aged 58 of heart disease 6 months before his death, and the women on his maternal side rarely made it to pension age. There is also CHD in my family, which is a double whammy for my children.
This prompted me to have my daughter tested at aged 7 for risk factors, and her cholesterol was 13! She was under the lipid clinic during childhood, and now she is 28, she is on statins. My grandson is now 7, and I constantly worry about his diet, etc, as I dont want to outlive my children or grandchildren. If my daughter has inherited her paternal fathers gene's, then so will my grandson. Sometimes a little bit of knowledge is a curse.
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