More than 1.4 million Americans die each year in heart attacks and strokes, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It found that men were more likely than women to have died in heart attack or stroke.
Some people may have developed an increased risk of heart disease in response to the medications they take to treat it, including statins, beta blockers and statins.
So why are some men more likely and others less likely to develop heart disease?
Experts are not sure.
“There’s no conclusive answer for the reasons,” says Dr. Michael R. Kluger, director of the Center for Heart Failure at Boston University School of Medicine.
He believes the reason could be that men who have an elevated risk of developing heart disease are also more likely in some ways to develop chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure.
Klugser’s team looked at the risk factors for heart disease among people aged 50 to 64 in the United States, including cholesterol, blood pressure, obesity, high blood sugar, diabetes, blood clotting, inflammation and sleep apnea.
The researchers found that the risk of having a heart disease increased with each of these factors, as well as smoking, diet and physical activity.
“People are more likely if they have these factors that they’re more likely [to develop heart failure],” Klugsers said.
“You’re not just more likely of having an increased heart rate, you’re also more than twice as likely to die from a heart failure.”
People who have a high risk of a heart condition are also less likely than those with lower risk to receive medical treatment, such as a heart transplant, which is needed to replace damaged heart tissue.
“The more people you have, the more likely you are to have an increased cardiovascular risk,” Klugs says.
In addition, he says, men are more prone to having certain genetic predispositions to heart disease, such a family history of heart attacks or strokes.
Some of these genetic predisposes can be associated with the risk for heart failure.
The CDC’s study did not look at the reasons why some men develop heart attacks more than others.
Klugeer thinks the most likely explanation for the gender difference could be related to a higher number of cardiac arrests in men, and the more frequent and severe heart attacks that are associated with higher cardiovascular risk.
It is also possible that the number of heart attack episodes may be higher in men who take statins or beta blockers to prevent the buildup of cholesterol.
But Klugers says the data is still lacking and he doesn’t know why.
The study was published online in Circulation on Monday, and will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
It was funded by the National Institutes of Health.