London: It`s been believed that men suffer more from cardiac problems than women. Now, scientists claim they have found a genetic clue to explain why males are more
vulnerable when it comes to heart diseases.
Researchers at the Leicester University found a cluster
of significant genetic variations in the Y chromosome -- the
area of DNA men inherit from their fathers.
The variation called l-haplogroup makes men 55 per cent
more likely to develop coronary disease, they found.
Researchers, however, said it was too early to tell
whether the gene has a greater effect on the health of the
heart than factors such as smoking and high blood pressure.
But, the findings may help doctors to develop more
treatments on a case by case basis, said Professor Nilesh
Samani, who led the research.
He said men may suffer through lacking the protection
that younger women get from oestrogen.
"We set out to determine if men with differing types of Y
chromosome were at differing risk of heart disease," he was
quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
"We tested nearly 3,000 British males and found those
carrying the l-haplogroup variant had a 55 per cent higher
risk of coronary heart disease."
The difference was not explained by traditional factors
such as cholesterol, high blood pressure and smoking.
The l-haplogroup variant is thought to have been brought
to Europe by arrivals from the Middle East some 25,000 years
It is more common in northern Europe -- raising
speculation that it might explain why heart disease rates are
higher in the UK than in Mediterranean countries.
Peter Weissberg of British Heart Foundation said it was
too early to know what impact the gene might have on heart
However, he said that if the genetic variation was linked
to a risk factor such as hypertension then the discovery might
be useful because men with high blood pressure could be
treated more aggressively.
"We are a long way off being able to judge the potency of
this genetic effect. This will not be a test you can get in
the near future," Professor Weissberg added.
The new study was released at the European Society of
Cardiology congress in Stockholm.