Vascular hemodynamics and blood pressure differences between young and older women

Academic Article


  • Background: Cardiovascular disease is one of the main causes of death in the United States, and hypertension is a primary risk factor. Therefore, the primary causes of hypertension need to be identified so they may be addressed for treatment. The purpose of this study was to compare blood pressure with hemodynamic values and identify factors that may explain blood pressure differences between a cohort of healthy normotensive younger and older women. Methods: Participants were 49 young (age: 33.8 ± 5.9) and 103 old (age: 65.8 ± 4) who were non-hypertensive, had no previous history of heart disease or type 2 diabetes, body mass index less than 30 kg/m2, normal electrocardiography response at rest and during exercise, nonsmokers, and no use of medications known to affect cardiovascular or metabolic function. Body composition measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Hemodynamic values measured by non-invasive pulse wave velocity through radial artery tonometry. Markers of inflammation measured through blood sample analysis. Results: Significant differences exist between young and old groups in %fat (P < 0.001), systolic blood pressure (SBP) (P = 0.001), large artery elasticity (P = 0.005), small artery elasticity (P < 0.001), systemic vascular resistance (P = 0.004), total vascular impedance (P < 0.001), estimated cardiac output (P < 0.001), and tumor necrosis factor-⍺ (TNF-⍺) (P < 0.001). Using ANCOVA the difference in SBP between age groups was no longer significant after adjusting for small artery elasticity (P < 0.001) and TNF-⍺ (P = 0.041). Conclusions: These data demonstrate that blood pressure and vascular hemodynamic measures differ significantly between young and old women independent of body composition. Furthermore, these differences may be explained by the inflammation marker TNF-⍺ and/or small artery elasticity.
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    Author List

  • Ballenger BK; Hunter GR; Fisher G
  • Volume

  • 27
  • Issue

  • 1