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Unhealthy Behavior Puts Men at Higher Risk for Certain Conditions

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AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: June 13, 2006

Male hospital patients are more likely than female patients to have a number of serious conditions, including heart attack, alcohol-related mental disorders, alcohol-related liver disease, hepatitis, and injuries, according to a new report by the Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

  • For each of the aforementioned conditions, the rate of cases per 1,000 hospital stays was 50 percent higher or more for men than for women in 2003—the latest year for which data is currently available. For example, roughly 59 men per 1,000 hospital stays showed evidence of alcohol abuse, compared with approximately 20 women. To use another example, about 38 men per 1,000 hospital stays had suffered a heart attack, compared with 25 women per 1,000 hospital stays.
  • Men also were at a greater risk of dying in the hospital. The data used in the report, which is from AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), shows the in-hospital death rate for male patients was 12 percent higher than that of female patients (2.7 percent versus 2.4 percent).
  • Overall, nearly one-in-four hospital stays for males was due to a heart or other circulatory system disorder, such as hardening of the arteries, congestive heart failure, heart attack, or irregular heartbeat.
  • Respiratory conditions such as pneumonia, and digestive disorders such as abdominal hernia and esophageal disorders, each accounted for approximately one-in-10 hospital stays of males.
  • In addition, certain conditions ranked higher among hospitalized men than among female patients. For example, heart attacks ranked fourth among men, while among women it was the twelfth leading condition; complications from medical devices ranked seventh among males and fifteenth among females; and back problems was the eighth leading condition among males and the eleventh for females.

These and other data are presented in Hospitalizations among Males, 2003, HCUP Statistical Brief No. 9, available at The report uses statistics from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays that is nationally representative of all short-term, non-Federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 90 percent of all discharges in the United States and include all patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.

For more information on this data, or to speak with an HCUP data expert, contact Bob Isquith at or call (301) 427-1539.


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