Researchers have found that it’s possible to have the vascular system of a healthy 20-something as a 70-something. But, for the most part, it’s not genetic factors that stiffen the body’s network of blood vessels as we age. It’s Western culture.

“Western culture that includes poor diets and sedentary lifestyles is a hurdle for maintaining healthy blood vessels,” said lead study author Teemu J. Niiranen, MD, research fellow at Boston University School of Medicine, Framingham Heart Study, in a press release. “Age-associated high blood pressure, for example, is not common in indigenous hunter-gatherer populations. Unfortunately, there is still no magic pill that helps achieve healthy vascular aging.”

New research published in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension found the most important factors for healthy vascular function were staying lean or having a low body mass index and avoiding diabetes, Niiranen says. Maintaining good cholesterol levels is key, too.

As always and as with many other issues, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”

Via: Nicole S. at IAdanceSeniorCare