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A Journal on Heart and Vascular Diseases

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Angiology and Vascular Pathology
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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2007 August;55(4):497-502

language: English

Vascular aging and geriatric patient

Nicita-Mauro V., Maltese G., Nicita-Mauro C., Basile G.

Division of Geriatric Medicine Department of Geriatrics and Gerontology University of Messina, Messina, Italy


Advancing age is associated with changes in structure and function of different segments of the vascular system and is the dominant risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. The oxidative stress represents a key event of vascular aging, mainly characterized by endothelium dysfunction and reduced arterial elasticity. Age-related changes include intimal and medial thickening, arterial calcification, increased deposition of matrix substances, thus leading to a reduced compliance and increased wall stiffness, that significantly contributes to an increase in systolic blood pressure. Frail elderly patients, because of their complex clinical presentations and needs, require a special approach: the comprensive geriatric assessment, a multidimensional process intended to determine medical, psychosocial and functional capabilities and problems in order to develop a plan for treatment and continued care. All physicians, and geriatricians in particular, must, therefore, educate their patients to healthy lifestyle to prevent or delay vascular aging, cardiovascular diseases, and to maintain a good quality of life and increase life expectancy.

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