Aging leads to a multitude of changes in the cardiovascular system, including systolic hypertension, increased central vascular stiffness, and increased pulse pressure. In this paper we will review the effects of age-associated increased vascular stiffness on systolic blood pressure, pulse pressure, augmentation index, and cardiac workload. Additionally we will describe pulse wave velocity as a method to measure vascular stiffness and review the impact of increased vascular stiffness as an index of vascular health and as a predictor of adverse cardiovascular outcomes. Furthermore, we will discuss the underlying mechanisms and how these may be modified in order to change the outcomes. A thorough understanding of these concepts is of paramount importance and has therapeutic implications for the increasingly elderly population. © 2011 Jochen Steppan et al.