Tags: atherosclerosis | inflammation | free radical | aging | heart disease

Link Between Aging and Hardened Arteries

By
Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014 04:50 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Most people know that as we age, our vessels tend to collect fatty streaks and plaque, especially at stress points such as where a vessel divides. Over time, these plaques can narrow the vessel, thus impairing the flow of blood. It is actually uncommon for a heart attack or stroke to result from a complete closure of the vessel.
 
More often, a blood clot forms on the surface of the unstable plaque, blocking the flow of blood.
 
As we age, our bodies also produce more free radicals than when we are young — in some people a lot more. The reason inflammation is linked to atherosclerosis is that inflammation triggers a massive production of free radicals and lipid peroxidation products.
 
These free radicals and lipid peroxidation products (oxidized fats) damage the blood vessels — especially the endothelium. The endothelial cells, which line the interior of the blood vessel, regulate blood flow, prevent clots from forming, and protect the blood vessel from damage.
 
A recent study was conducted to discover why aging causes such a high incidence of atherosclerosis. In the study, two mice were genetically designed to develop atherosclerosis rapidly. The researchers fed the young and middle-age animals either a very low-fat diet or a high-fat diet, and examined their blood vessels for plaque development. They also measured a number of biochemical changes after keeping the animals on the diet for three months.
 
It should be noted that the high-fat diet contained extremely low amounts of cholesterol. The middle-age mice developed extreme atherosclerosis, especially on the high-fat diet. In addition, middle-age mice developed higher insulin levels, higher triglycerides, and worse insulin resistance on the high-fat diet.
 
Of particular interest is the finding that the cholesterol levels in both the young and middle-age mice were not elevated — even on the high-fat diet. What this means is that despite the appearance of severe atherosclerosis in the middle-age mice fed the high-fat diet, cholesterol appeared to be playing little or no role.
 
As we know from studying numerous human cases of atherosclerosis, only oxidized cholesterol plays a role in the disorder. The reason LDL cholesterol plays any role at all — and then only the small dense form — is that it is the easiest form of cholesterol to oxidize.
 
When the researchers compared the level of free radicals being formed in the blood vessels of the young versus the middle-age mice, they found that lipid peroxidation and free radical generation was two times higher in the middle-age mice. The real difference between the young mice and the older mice was not their free radical response to the high-fat diet. Rather, it was the inability of the middle-age mice to increase their antioxidant defenses in the face of the high free radical levels.
 
In fact, their antioxidant enzymes actually decreased, which made their vessels much more vulnerable to damage by free radicals.

© 2017 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

 
1Like our page
2Share
Dr-Blaylock
Most people know that as we age, our vessels tend to collect fatty streaks and plaque, especially at stress points such as where a vessel divides. Over time, these plaques can narrow the vessel, thus impairing the flow of blood.
atherosclerosis, inflammation, free radical, aging, heart disease
475
2014-50-22
Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014 04:50 PM
Newsmax Inc.
 

The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read Newsmax Terms and Conditions of Service.

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved