News | January 14, 2010

Determining Vascular Age Helps Predict Cardiac, Vascular Problems

January 13, 2010 – The January issue of the Harvard Heart Letter says assessing a patient’s “artery age” can help predict the person’s chances for vascular diseases, including heart disease. The article also offers a survey to help judge artery age.

The article says arteries age more slowly with daily exercise, a healthy diet, and good relationships with family and friends. They age faster when assaulted by smoking, when a person has a poor diet laden with saturated and trans fats, suffers from chronic stress, and other traumas. Knowing a patient’s vascular age offers a clearer picture of a person’s heart health.

Two currently available tools estimate artery "age" using pulse wave velocity and carotid intima-media thickness. Measurement of these physical variables in thousands of people has allowed researchers to identify ranges for each that correspond to different chronological ages. A third tool, the Framingham score, relies on generally available information on age, cholesterol, and blood pressure.

Pulse wave velocity examines the waves of blood through the body's network of arteries. The stiffer the arteries, the faster this wave travels. Measuring the speed of the pulse wave provides information about how stiff or how flexible the arteries are. The speed of the wave can be converted into vascular age. Several companies make devices that measure pulse wave velocity in a doctor's office or at home using a sensor that clips onto a finger.

Carotid intima-media thickness measures examine the vessel intima and the media. Using ultrasound. Measuring the intima-media thickness in the carotid arteries in the neck can help estimate vascular age.

The Framingham score is based on the landmark Framingham Heart Study. Data accumulated in the study have helped researchers create a general cardiovascular risk profile that uses survey questions.

For more information: www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Heart_Letter/2010/January/how-old-are-your-arteries

Related Content

ACC/AHA Update Guidance for Preventing Heart Disease; Stroke
Feature | Cardiac Diagnostics | March 18, 2019
The choices we make every day can have a lasting effect on our heart and vascular health. Adopting a heart healthy...
AHA Statement Warns Hookah Smoking May Harm the Heart
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | March 08, 2019
Smoking tobacco in waterpipes, more commonly known as hookahs, results in inhaling toxic chemicals, often at levels...
PTSD Alone Does Not Increase Heart Disease Risk in Veterans
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | February 20, 2019
February 20, 2019 — Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by itself does not explain the...
Hormone Therapy May Increase Cardiovascular Risk During Gender Transition
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | February 18, 2019
Patients receiving hormone therapy as part of their gender-transition treatment had an elevated risk for cardiovascular...
IBM and Broad Institute Launch AI Initiative for Cardiovascular Disease Risk Prediction
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | February 15, 2019
IBM Watson Health and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard are launching a research partnership aimed at developing...
Nearly Half of All U.S. Adults Have Cardiovascular Disease
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | January 31, 2019
January 31, 2019 — Nearly half (48 percent, 121.5 million in 2016) of all adults in the United States have some type
Frequent Red Meat Consumption Triples Levels of Chemical Associated With Heart Disease
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | January 23, 2019
Researchers have identified another reason to limit red meat consumption: high levels of a gut-generated chemical...
Plant-Based Diets Benefit Athletes' Heart Health, Endurance, Recovery
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | January 21, 2019
Meat-free athletes have already proven the performance-boosting power of a plant-based diet. Now, “Plant-Based Diets...
Sedentary Lifestyle Cancels Out Heart Benefits of Normal Weight
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | January 09, 2019
January 9, 2019 — Researchers at the University of Florida have found that low levels of physical activity can put he
Livongo Launches Applied Health Signals Product Category
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | November 30, 2018
Healthcare technology company Livongo recently announced the launch of its Applied Health Signals product category,...
Overlay Init