To have many criteria to evaluate our age. The V V most common Is our calendar age. This certainly differs from our biological age. The biological age more or less is the same as our vascular age. The concept of vascular age is based on the fact that an individual is as old as his vascular age or his arteries.
When does the process of vascular ageing starts?
The process of vascular ageing starts from our childhood. Arterial ageing can be seen from two aspects. Initially, there is the loss of elasticity and later stiffening of arteries. Secondly, degenerative changes and formation of atherosclerotic coating or plaques may occur. This may cause a reduction of blood supply to major organs like heart, kidneys and brain.
How old are your arteries?
You are as old as your arteries, which does not equal to the number of candles on your birthday cake. You can allow your arteries to age more slowly and gracefully than the rest of your body. You can nurture your arteries with daily exercises, a healthy diet and good relationships with your family and friends.
How do your arteries age faster?
Our arteries age faster if they are constantly assaulted by cigarette smoke, foods laden with saturated fats, trans fats, chronic stress and other traumas. Knowing your vascular age can give you a clearer picture of your heart.
How can you calculate your vascular age?
Two currently available tools include pulse wave velocity and carotid inti-ma • medial thickness. Researchers have collected data from many individuals in different age groups to come to standard values. A third tool that can be used at home is the information on age, cholesterol and blood pressure.
What is pulse wave velocity-Each heartbeat or contraction of the heart sends a wave of blood through the network of arteries of our body. The stiffer the artery the faster this wave travels. Measuring the speed of this pulse wave provides information about how stiff or flexible the arteries are. This speed of tile wave can be converted into your vascular age. There are devices that can be clipped on to the finger and the pulse wave velocity can be measured.
What is carotid intima medial thickness?
This is also known as CIMT. The innermost layer of the artery is known as the intima. It provides a smooth surface for the blood to flow. The media is the middle layer. Its muscle and elastic fibres let the vessel expand and contract with each heartbeat. The thicker the intima and media the more likely that the artery is choked. This happens due to the cholesterol-rich plaque. By using a safe technique using an ultra-sound your doctor can easily measure the intima medial thickness in the carotid arteries in your neck. This measurement is used to measure your vascular age.
What is the Framingham score?
The landmark Framingham study has been following the health of thousands of residents of one Massachusetts town since 1998. Data from this study has helped researchers to create a cardiovascular scoring system that can generate a cardiovascular risk profile for you. This scoring system helps you to estimate your chances of a heart attack or a stroke or heart failure. It also estimates your vascular age.
What are the six categories included in the Framingham scoring system?
The risk factors include your age, your total Cholesterol value, HDL Cholesterol, Systolic blood pressure with or without treatment,
whether you are a smoker or not and if you are a diabetic?
What are the parameters that influence your vascular age? If you have uncontrolled diabetes or hypertension or if your cholesterol value is high or if you have been a smoker or if you are under constant stress this all leads to early vascular ageing. Your vascular age will thus be more than your calendar age.
How does age affect the arterial stiffness?
Arterial stiffness is known to progress with age. However, the rate of this stiffness is influenced by many cardiovascular and cardiometabolic factors. Adverse lifestyle behaviours are also known to influence arteries to age faster. Arterial stiffness is important in the assessment of healthy vascular ageing and a possible target to prevent clinical disorders. Vascular age is an emerg• ing health indicator and predictor of end-organ damage to heart, brain and kidney. Next time if you want to know your age on your birthday does not forget your real age that is your vascular age!
Author: Dr Jay Deshmukh
Dr Jay Deshmukh is Chief Physician and Director, Sunflower Hospital, Nagpur Honorary Physician to Honorable Governor of Maharashtra and PondicherryCentral. Dr Jay Deshmukh is an M.B.B.S., M.C.P.S., F.C.P.S., M.N.A.M.S., MD From Internal Medicine – Bombay and New Delhi.