Abstract P013: Prevalence, Correlates and Prognosis of Healthy Vascular Aging in a Western Community-dwelling Population
Introduction: Although hypertension in the elderly is no longer considered harmless, increasing arterial stiffness and blood pressure (BP) are still widely seen as inevitable parts of the aging process. However, these phenomena may not be unavoidable as they are nearly absent in populations leading traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyles. Our study had 3 aims: 1) to define a new concept - healthy vascular aging (HVA); 2) to assess prevalence and correlates of HVA in a sample acculturated to a western life-style; and 3) to estimate the magnitude of cardiovascular (CVD) risk associated with HVA vs. absence of HVA.
Methods: We studied 3197 Framingham Heart Study participants aged ≥50 years (62±9 years, 56% women) who underwent physical examination, interviews, and measurement of carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) in 1999-2008. We defined HVA as no hypertension (BP <140/90 mmHg without antihypertensive treatment) and PWV <7.6 m/s (equivalent to +2 SD above mean of non-hypertensive reference sample aged <30 years with no CVD risk factors). We used logistic regression models that included physical activity, caloric intake, and classical CVD factors as covariates to assess the correlates of HVA. For each participant, we constructed a cardiovascular health score based on presence vs. absence of 6 modifiable risk factors (cholesterol, plasma glucose, healthy diet score, physical activity, body mass index (BMI), and smoking) defined as dichotomous variables according to the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7 score (modified to exclude hypertension). We estimated odds ratios (OR) per 1-unit increase in cardiovascular health score for HVA. We used Cox regression models adjusted for classical CVD risk factors, including systolic BP, to assess the relationship between HVA and incident CVD events (CVD death, myocardial infarction, heart failure, stroke, and unstable angina).
Results: In our sample, only 566 (17.7%) had HVA. Lower age (OR per 1-SD increase 0.18, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.14-0.23), female sex (OR 2.03; 95% CI 1.54-2.68), lower BMI (OR per 1-SD increase 0.54; 95% CI 0.47-0.63) and no diabetes (OR 0.09; 95% CI 0.02-0.36) were significantly associated with HVA. A 1-unit increase in the cardiovascular health score conferred 1.55-fold (95% CI 1.38-1.74) odds of HVA. During follow-up (median 9.6 years), 391 participants had CVD events. HVA was associated with an age- and sex-adjusted hazard ratio (HR) of 0.36 (95% CI, 0.22-0.60) and a multivariable-adjusted HR of 0.45 (95% CI, 0.26-0.77) for CVD relative to absence of HVA.
Conclusions: One in 6 individuals experiences HVA in our sample. Individuals with HVA are at a considerably low risk of CVD. Prevention strategies targeting modifiable factors and behaviors included in Life’s Simple 7 are important for preventing or delaying vascular aging and the associated risk of CVD.
Author Disclosures: T. Niiranen: None. A. Lyass: None. M. Larson: None. N. Hamburg: None. E. Benjamin: None. G. Mitchell: F. Ownership Interest; Significant; Gary F. Mitchell is owner of Cardiovascular Engineering, Inc., a company that designs and manufactures devices that measure vascular stiffness.. R. Vasan: None.
- © 2017 by American Heart Association, Inc.