A natural part of aging for men is the gradual loss of the Y chromosome. By the age of 70, a whopping 40% of men have lost it.

Mosaic Loss of Y, or mLOY, is a genetic change most men face. The lack of the Y chromosome has been linked to heart disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 380,000 men die per year from heart disease.

What to Do to Help Prevent the Loss of Y Chromosome

Since researchers have linked mLOY to an increased risk of heart disease, you might ask what men can do to prevent this from happening.

Routine testing for the loss of the Y chromosome in blood cells could help to identify men who are at risk. Men with mLOY could be scheduled for regular MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) to see if there’s any buildup of fibrosis in the heart. Preventive care by identifying men with mLOY is a good first step to knowing if you have a higher risk of heart disease.

There’s only one known method to reduce your risk of mosaic loss of Y, and that’s to quit smoking. Smokers are already at a greater risk of heart disease, and quitting has obvious health benefits beyond the loss of the Y chromosome.

Y Chromosome Loss Puts Men at a Higher Risk of Heart Disease

As men age, a good percentage of them will eventually lose their Y chromosome. Early screening for mLOY is recommended for older men to see if they are at risk. Quitting smoking is the only known way to prevent the loss of the Y chromosome.