Research tells us that living in a Western culture makes it unlikely that people in their 70s can have arteries as healthy as those of people in their 20s and 30s. However, a new study suggests that this is not impossible, especially for people whose diet and lifestyle are in keeping with those recommended by the American Heart Association.
The study – led by researchers collaborating on the Framingham Heart Study, from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Boston University in Massachusetts – is published in the journal Hypertension.
First author Teemu J. Niiranen, a research fellow at Boston University School of Medicine, says that many people assume that “vascular aging” is a normal result of aging.
“As people get older, their arteries become stiffer and they develop high blood pressure. In fact, that’s what happens to most people beyond age 70. But it doesn’t have to happen,” he explains.
The team studied nearly 3,200 people aged 50 and older who took part in the Framingham Heart Study, and they assessed how many participants met the requirements for healthy vascular aging.
The researchers defined healthy vascular aging as having normal blood pressure and the arterial stiffness of people aged 30 and under, which was assessed using a method called pulse-wave velocity.
One percent of older adults have healthy blood vessels
The results showed that nearly 18 percent of participants (566 individuals) met the definition for healthy vascular aging.
The age group most likely to meet the requirements for healthy vascular…