Increase in aortic stiffness with age occurs gradually and continuously, similarly for men and women. Cross-sectional studies have shown that aortic and carotid stiffness (evaluated by the pulse wave velocity) increase with age by approximately 10% to 15% during a period of 10 years.
Why do arteries get stiffer with age?
The main artery from the heart (aorta) becomes thicker, stiffer, and less flexible. This is probably related to changes in the connective tissue of the blood vessel wall. This makes the blood pressure higher and makes the heart work harder, which may lead to thickening of the heart muscle (hypertrophy).
What factors cause age related vascular stiffness?
Changes in Elastin
As elastin fibers decay, they lose functionality and shift load bearing onto stiffer collagen fibrils, which directly contributes to significant increases in arterial stiffness.
What causes arterial stiffness?
Arterial stiffening, at least in part, reflects gradual fragmentation and loss of elastin fibers and accumulation of stiffer collagen fibers in the arterial wall . Increased arterial stiffness is closely linked to increased risk of hypertension and other diseases, such as chronic kidney disease and stroke .
Can arterial stiffness be reversed?
Is arterial stiffness reversible? Both human and animal studies have suggested that arterial stiffness is reversible.
How can I stop my arteries from stiffening?
Quit smoking: This is the single most important change you can make to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Avoid fatty foods: Eat well-balanced meals that are low in fat and cholesterol. Include several daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Adding fish to your diet at least twice a week may be helpful.
How can I reduce the stiffness in my arteries?
Aerobic exercise reduces arterial stiffness in young, healthy individuals.
What is the most common form of arteriosclerosis?
Atherosclerosis is the most common and most important pattern of arteriosclerosis because its end result can be a harmful clot in the blood that may cause a heart attack or stroke or disease of the peripheral blood vessels.
What causes the aorta to stiffen?
Aortic stiffness occurs when the elastic fibers within the arterial wall (elastin) begin to fray due to mechanical stress. This is seen with increasing cardiovascular risk factors and aging.
What is vascular stiffness?
It is a measure of the timing of the diastolic relative to the systolic component of PWV in the large arteries (height divided by time between systolic and diastolic peaks). The stiffness index has been shown to correlate well with central PWV (51). Reflection index is a measure of small artery stiffness.
Is arterial stiffness harmful?
Central arterial stiffening is now fully recognized as an important consequence of aging that has been shown to provoke deleterious vascular phenotypes in diseases such as diabetes, atherosclerosis and renal disease among others5.
What happens when arteries stiffen?
If the arteries supplying the heart become narrow, blood flow can slow down or stop. This can cause chest pain (stable angina), shortness of breath, and other symptoms. Narrowed or blocked arteries may also cause problems in the intestines, kidneys, legs, and brain.