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The ageing cardiovascular system

  • Emily Bolton (a1) and Chakravarthi Rajkumar (a2)

The increase in the ageing population has generated much interest and research into what constitutes normal ageing. By identifying normal ageing processes it is hoped it will be possible to distinguish risk factors for the development of abnormal or premature ageing.

This review discusses biological, structural and mechanical changes in the cardiovascular system with ageing that are thought to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease with ageing. Contributory factors are thought to be genetic and lifestyle related. Measurements of biological as opposed to chronological ageing such as vascular stiffness are explored as a possible useful predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, indicating its possible utilization as a non-invasive screening tool in older people.

The identification of those at risk of cardiovascular disease and modification of risk factors may minimize interactions of the ageing process and therefore reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease within the UK population.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Dr Emily Bolton, Conquest Hospital, The Ridge, St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex TN37 7RD. Email:
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