Scientists have said it is possible to have the healthy blood vessels of a 20-year-old when you are in your 70s – but said people need to start working on it immediately.
Researchers have discovered that it is not genetic factors that stiffen and age blood vessels with time, but lifestyle factors.
They believe that it is possible for a 70-year-old to have healthy blood vessels that appear 50 years younger, as long as they dedicate their lives to health.
Dr Teemu Niiranen, author of the study and research fellow at Boston University School of Medicine, in Massachusetts, said: “For the most part, it’s not genetic factors that stiffen the body’s network of blood vessels during ageing.
“Modifiable lifestyle factors – like those identified in the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7 – are the leading culprits.”
Life’s Simple 7 include:
Manage blood pressure – high blood pressure puts a strain on organs and arteries
Control cholesterol – high cholesterol can clog arteries
Reduce blood sugar – high levels of sugar can contribute to type 2 diabetes and put pressure on the kidney, eyes and heart
Get active – exercise can help people lose weight and get fit
Eat better – a healthy diet can reduce blood pressure and reduce the risk of diseases including cancer
Lose weight – losing weight can help reduce blood pressure and take pressure of vital organs
Stop smoking – smokers have a higher risk of heart disease
Experts studied more than 3,000 adults over 50 from the Framingham Heart Study.
The found people over 50 with healthy vascular ageing have normal blood pressure and blood vessel stiffness near the level of people of healthy people aged 30 or younger.
Researchers found that overall, 566 of the participants studied had healthy vascular ageing.
Only one percent of those 70 and older had healthy vascular ageing, and they were more likely to be women.
The most important factors of achieving healthy vascular function were having a low body mass index, and avoiding…