The aorta is the main artery which exits your heart from the left ventricle and carries high pressure, oxygenated blood from your heart, through your chest and abdomen, ending in the upper pelvis. There are many very important arteries which supply your key organs and tissues with fresh blood and oxygen. Aortic stiffness occurs when the arteries in your body become damaged from high blood pressure, obesity, inflammation, high cholesterol, and diabetes. The degree of aortic stiffness attributed to atherosclerosis and aging has been previously used to predict dangerous cardiovascular events.
New research conducted in Brazil published in the journal Diabetes Care, evaluated 565 participants from 2004-2008 who had a previous diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and had a high risk of cardiovascular disease. The participants had baseline tests including clinical exam, blood work, 24 hour blood pressure monitoring, and aortic pulse wave velocity measurements. Following an average of 5.75 years, there were a total of 88 cardiovascular events (fatal/non-fatal) and 72 all-cause deaths within the study group. The results indicated that approximately 38% of the participants had increased aortic stiffness. These people were also older, had a greater chance of being hypertensive, having high cholesterol, and diabetic complications. These high risk participants also were almost twice as likely to experience death or sickness from cardiovascular events.
This study also indicated several other very important features. The group of participants who had the highest amount of aortic stiffness was much more likely to experience damaging effects to their health if they were younger than 65, had diabetic complications, and had poor control of their blood sugar. To properly assess the degree of aortic stiffness you may have, a test called the carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity needs to be performed on you in a clinical setting. This is done with a machine called a “SphygmoCor” which compares the blood pressure in your neck to your groin and determines the degree of aortic stiffness from a pre-determined formula.
The results of this study clearly indicate that the degree of aortic stiffness can accurately predict the risk of a cardiovascular event independent of other risk factors such as poor control of sugar and hypertension.
In my opinion, if you are a diabetic or have been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, you should arrange to have this very safe and non-invasive test performed. It can clearly indicate future risk regarding impending heart attack or stroke. For those of you who are below 50 years of age and have metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes, the earlier you start to improve your diet, lifestyle, and attitude, the longer you will live.
The longer you live with these risk factors, the more likely you will develop irrevocable vascular damage that can end your life prematurely!
Source(s) for Today’s Article:
Busko, M., “Aortic Stiffness May Predict CVD in High-Risk Diabetes,” Medscape web site, August 2, 2013; http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/808880, last accessed August 13, 2013.
Cardoso, C., et al., “Prognostic Impact of Aortic Stiffness in High-Risk Type 2 Diabetic Patients The Rio de Janeiro Type 2 Diabetes Cohort Study,” Diabetes Care. Published online July 22, 2013.
van Leeuwen-Segarceanu, E.M., et al., “Comparison of two instruments measuring carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity: Vicorder versus SphygmoCor.,” J Hypertens. August 2010; 28(8): 1687-91.
“SphygmoCor Technology,” AtCor Medical web site; http://atcormedical.com/sphygmocor.html, last accessed August 13, 2013.