Cardiovascular health and arterial stiffness: the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study

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Abstract

Ideal cardiovascular health is a recently defined construct by the American Heart Association (AHA) to promote cardiovascular disease reduction. Arterial stiffness is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The extent to which the presence of multiple prevalent cardiovascular risk factors and health behaviors is associated with arterial stiffness is unknown. The aim of this study was to examine the association between the AHA construct of cardiovascular health and arterial stiffness, as indexed by pulse wave velocity (PWV) and pulse pressure. The AHA health metrics, comprising of four health behaviors (smoking, body mass index, physical activity and diet) and three health factors (total cholesterol, blood pressure and fasting plasma glucose), were evaluated among 505 participants in the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study. Outcome measures were carotid-femoral PWV and pulse pressure measured at 4- to 5-year follow-up. Better cardiovascular health, comprising both health factors and behaviors, was associated with lower arterial stiffness, as indexed by PWV and pulse pressure. Those with at least five health metrics at ideal levels had significantly lower PWV (9.8ms−1) than those with two or less ideal health metrics (11.7ms−1) (P<0.001). This finding remained with the addition of demographic and PWV-related variables (P=0.004).

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