"As people get older, their arteries become stiffer and they develop high blood pressure.
He and his colleagues suggest that a healthful diet and lifestyle can reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stiff arteries, both of which raise the risk for heart disease.
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 aging were aged 50 to 59, in which 30 percent met the definition.
Niiranen says that they also found that the participants with healthy vascular aging had a 55 percent lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
In fact, they found that participants who were meeting six out of the seven targets of the American Heart Association's (AHA) Life's Simple 7 program were 10 times more likely to meet the requirements for healthy vascular aging than participants who met none or only one of them.
Life's Simple 7 In 2010, the AHA for the first time linked "ideal cardiovascular health" to seven simple diet and lifestyle changes that people can make to reduce their risk of stroke and heart disease.
However, he suggests that the odds of maintaining healthy blood vessels - "even into old age" - increase by following Life's Simple 7, and concludes that: "For the most part, it's not genetic factors that stiffen the body's network of blood vessels during aging.