Turkish Journal of Geriatrics 2015 , Vol 18, Issue 2
VASCULAR AGING
Murat KOÇ, Ali KUTSAL
Dr. Sami Ulus Maternity and Children’s Research and Training Hospital, Department of Cardiovascular Surgery ANKARA The incidences of heart and vascular diseases increase with age and it is known to be the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in developed countries. Although aging is a chronological process, it is known that some environmental factors, chronic diseases and lifestyle may form and speed up the process of aging, especially of the cardiovascular system. Due to the changes that occur at structural and molecular levels in the vascular system of the elderly, the function of the cardiovascular system becomes impaired. Vascular aging is a normal physiological process which develops gradually along with the age. The most known pathophysiological vascular changes are the ones beginning at the intimal level such as atherosclerosis. However, the other vascular pathologies leading to the thickness in media and adventitia and remodeling are also seen in aging even if atherosclerosis is not present. These changes include an increase in collagen fibers and covalent bonds, local inflammation, fibrosis, mucous matter storage, a marked decrease in the elastin composition and the classifications of elastic laminas. Aging related differences develop independently of the atherosclerosis. They create a cumulative effect by activating the atherosclerosis with contributions of other factors such as hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes mellitus, renal failure, dietary, genetic and smoking along with aging. When the format and the mechanism of occurrence of these changes in the growing elderly population are carefully managed today, we can take a considerable step towards protecting the community from cardiovascular events and diseases. Keywords : Atherosclerosis; Blood Vessels