This post has been written by Dr. Guillermo Perez and represents his personal opinion on the topic.
“A man is as old as his arteries”
Vascular aging represents a progressive process involving biochemical, enzymatic, and cellular changes of the vascular tree.
In short, early vascular aging (EVA), is defined as a vascular damage inappropriate for age. Increased arterial stiffness, dilated elastic arteries of central type and impaired endothelial function are main aspects of this process.
EVA is common in patients with hypertension and increased burden of cardiovascular risk factors. Several studies have indicated that this process starts early in life and could be programmed during foetal life or influenced by adverse growth patterns in early postnatal life.
Determinants of EVA can be classified as prenatal and postnatal factors. Prenatal factors are related to mothers’ behavior regarding food, smoking, or alcohol consumption. Some of the genetic mutations from prenatal life seem to influence the development of EVA in children, by starting even from intrauterine life without having clinical or subclinical manifestations in childhood. Posnatal factors comprise the presence of known cardiovascular risk factors that might impact negatively over life speeding up the vascular aging.
Nowadays, the early recognition of the EVA process has become the target of many investigations seeking going ahead in the early identification of individuals at cardiovascular risk.
This is and will be the smartest way to act, it is time to detect the risk early in life. When it comes to cardiovascular risk, the earlier the better. Once the disease is in place, things may turn very unfavorable for the patient and often migh be late for an efective treatment.
Thus, we have another tool to work with, kowing how to use it is key.
1- Nilsson P, Boutouyrie P, Cunha P. Early vascular ageing in translation a: from laboratory investigations to clinical applications in cardiovascular prevention. J Hypertens. 2013;(31):1517–1526.
2- Rana S, Pugh PC, Katz E, et al. Independent effects of early-life experience and trait aggression on cardiovascular function. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2016;311(2):R272–R286.