Aging and arterial stiffness

Circ J. 2010 Nov;74(11):2257-62. doi: 10.1253/circj.cj-10-0910. Epub 2010 Oct 15.


Arterial walls stiffen with age. The most consistent and well-reported changes are luminal enlargement with wall thickening and a reduction of elastic properties at the level of large elastic arteries. Longstanding arterial pulsation in the central artery causes elastin fiber fatigue and fracture. Increased vascular calcification and endothelial dysfunction are also characteristic of arterial aging. These changes lead to increased pulse wave velocity, especially along central elastic arteries, and increases in systolic blood pressure and pulse pressure. Vascular aging is accelerated by coexisting cardiovascular risk factors, such as hypertension, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Vascular aging is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, from atherosclerosis to target organ damage, including coronary artery disease, stroke and heart failure. Various strategies, especially controlling hypertension, show benefit in preventing, delaying or attenuating vascular aging.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aging / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Arteries / pathology*
  • Arteries / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / pathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / therapy
  • Elasticity
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors