Octogenarians suffer from weaker vascular function
Vascular function, such as endothelial and vascular smooth muscle functioning and arterial stiffness, are impaired in elderly adults, a recent Japan study has found.
Researchers enrolled 737 elderly adults, in whom flow-mediated dilation (FMD), nitroglycerine-induced vasodilation (NID), and brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV) were all measured. All participants were instructed to fast the night before the vascular function tests and were asked to abstain from alcohol, smoking, caffeine, and antioxidant vitamins on the day itself.
The mean FMD, NID, and baPWV values in the study cohort were 2.7±2.5 percent, 11.3±5.6 percent, and 1,793±346 cm/s, respectively. Eighty-seven (11.8 percent) of the participants were in the oldest subgroup, aged ≥80 years.
In the oldest participants, FMD was significantly lower than in their counterparts aged 60–69 and 70–79 years (1.9±2.0 percent vs 2.9±2.6 percent and 2.7±2.6 percent; p=0.008 and p=0.03, respectively). The same was true for NID (8.6±5.1 percent vs 12.1±5.6 percent and 11.2±5.5 percent; p<0.001 for both). Both measures of vascular function were comparable between the two younger subgroups.
BaPWV, in contrast, was significantly higher in the oldest subgroup (1,978±452 vs 1,724±319 and 1,811±318 cm/s; p<0.001, respectively. The difference between the 70–79 and 60–69-year age groups was also statistically significant (p=0.003).
The present findings may help explain the high incidence rate of cardiovascular diseases in the elderly population in Japan.
“Further studies are needed to determine whether aggressive interventions with lifestyle modifications and pharmacological treatment decelerate the age-related deterioration of vascular functions,” the researchers said.