, Volume 2, Issue 5, pp 410-415
Date: 16 Oct 2008

Arterial stiffness and systolic hypertension: Determinants, assessment, and clinical consequences

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Large-artery stiffness, a major consequence of aging, involves changes in the structural organization of various components of the arterial wall. The development of arterial stiffness is manifested by an acceleration of pulse wave velocity, a rise in systolic and pulse pressure, and a decline in diastolic blood pressure. These events observed during aging are more pronounced in patients with accelerated arterial aging. Thus, while chronologic age is a major determinant of arterial stiffness, genetic and environmental determinants can accelerate or attenuate arterial aging. Clinical studies have demonstrated a direct relationship between these clinical manifestations of arterial stiffness and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Hence, noninvasive techniques for measuring arterial stiffness could rapidly become a very useful step in the development of more accurate ways to assess cardiovascular risk.