In a study from the University of Jyväskylä, scientists found that women with larger muscle mass had lower arterial stiffness from youth to middle age.
They also revealed that hypertension was the most significant predictive factor for arterial stiffness regardless of age.
Researchers also found that even good aerobic fitness does not necessarily protect against age-induced arterial stiffness.
The compliant artery wall is a prerequisite for the normal functioning of the arteries and the entire circulatory system. The elasticity of the arteries is gradually reduced by aging.
However, various risk factors for cardiovascular diseases may accelerate arterial aging and predispose arterial stiffening since childhood.
Increased arterial stiffness predicts the development of cardiovascular diseases such as coronary artery disease and some brain diseases.
In the study, the team examined the importance of aerobic fitness, body fat percentage, muscle mass, and blood pressure for arterial stiffness in women aged 16 to 58.
They tested 146 women aged 16 to 58 years. Maximum oxygen uptake as a measure of durability was measured using a maximum cycle ergometer or treadmill test.
The researchers measured body composition with InBody or DXA device and arterial stiffness by pulse wave velocity analysis.
They showed only higher muscle mass and lower blood pressure were linked to lower arterial stiffness regardless of age.
Better aerobic fitness and lower body fat percentage were also linked to better arterial health, but age explained these associations.
The team suggests while age was the most important factor in explaining arterial stiffness, maintaining sufficient muscle mass and controlling blood pressure may protect against the adverse effects of aging on arterial health.
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The study was conducted by Dr. Eero Haapala et al and published in Scientific Reports.
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