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Study shows that women with ageing have stiffer blood vessels

Study shows that women with ageing have stiffer blood vessels

According to a new study at the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland), age is a strong factor in arterial stiffness. Arterial stiffness is also linked to hormones, contraceptive pill phases, menopause, and menstrual cycles.

The human blood vessels are made up of capillaries, veins, and arteries. They allow blood to circulate in a specific direction. The arteries that carry blood throughout your body work in tandem with the heart. Blood can move through the arteries by contracting and dilation. This process is called a pulsewave. The walls of the blood vessels should be elastic enough to allow the pulse wave to continue without the walls of your arteries rupturing. The arterial wall stiffens as the blood vessels age. Stiffening increases the chance of developing cardiovascular disease and can lead to cardiac death. Research has shown that female sex hormones affect many factors that regulate vascular elasticity. This is why high estrogen levels in young women may contribute to a lower risk for developing cardiovascular disease. It is not known if hormone levels or arterial stiffness in women are affected by their age or use hormonal products.

“Our study combined two datasets, including young adults as well as middle-aged women. It allowed us to examine the different hormonal conditions involved in women’s life,” Eija Laakkonen, Associate Professor at the Gerontology Research Center and Faculty of Sports and Health Science of University of Jyvaskyla said. Laakkonen said, “We were able study the associations between the natural menstrual cycle (and the use birth control pills), as well as the natural menopause (and the use hormone therapy with the flexibility the arteries).”

The entire study included women between the ages of 19 and 58. The stiffer their arteries became, the older they were. The hormones estradiol, follicle stimulating hormone, and follicle-stimulatinghormone were the most associated with arterial stiffness. However age was a stronger indicator of stiffness than hormone level. The subsets revealed that hormonal state was associated with arterial stiffness. The pace wave attenuation was more rapid in the late follicular or ovulation stages than it was during menstrual periods. Combination oral contraceptive users can have different hormonal levels because they take hormone-free pills for one week, then switch to estrogen and progestogen pills for the next three weeks. The arteries were more flexible during periods of hormonal pill use than when they were bleeding. Postmenopausal women who have been treated with hormone therapy had the most rigid arteries.

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“Based upon this study, it is clear that age is a significant regulator for vascular functions. However, hormones also play a part in regulating arterial elasticity at different times in a woman’s lifetime,” Laakkonen stated. “In future studies it would be worthwhile to examine and compare the effects on arterial wall properties of endogenous as well as exogenous hormones to better understand how women regulate their arterial properties at different hormonal phases.” Laakkonen stated that such thorough studies have not been completed yet. (ANI)

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff. It is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.

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