Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Body fat hardens arteries after middle age

Date:
May 15, 2013
Source:
Imperial College London
Summary:
Having too much body fat makes arteries become stiff after middle age, a new study has revealed.

Having too much body fat makes arteries become stiff after middle age, a new study has revealed.

Related Articles


In young people, blood vessels appear to be able to compensate for the effects of obesity. But after middle age, this adaptability is lost, and arteries become progressively stiffer as body fat rises – potentially increasing the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

The researchers suggest that the harmful effects of body fat may be related to the total number of years that a person is overweight in adulthood. Further research is needed to find out when the effects of obesity lead to irreversible damage to the heart and arteries, they said.

Obesity is known to be a major risk factor for heart disease, but the reasons for this are not fully understood.

Researchers at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Clinical Sciences Centre at Imperial College London scanned 200 volunteers to measure the speed of blood flow in the aorta, the biggest artery in the body. Blood travels more quickly in stiff vessels than in healthy elastic vessels, so this allowed them to work out how stiff the walls of the aorta were using an MRI scanner.

In young adults, those with more body fat had less stiff arteries. However, after the age of 50 increasing body fat was associated with stiffer arteries in both men and women.

Body fat percentage, which can be estimated by passing a small electric current through the body, was more closely linked with artery stiffness than body mass index, which is based just on weight and height. Men are on average about 21 per cent fat and women 31 per cent fat.

The research was funded by the MRC, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Imperial Biomedical Research Centre, and the British Heart Foundation, and published in the journal Hypertension.

Dr Declan O’Regan, who led the study, said: “The effects of having more fat seem to be different depending on your age. It looks like young people may be able to adapt to excess body fat, but by middle age the cumulative exposure to years of obesity may start to cause permanent damage to the arteries. One implication is that the potential beneficial effects of weight loss may depend on your age and how long you have been overweight. This is something we plan to study further.

“We don’t know for sure how body fat makes arteries stiffer, but we do know that certain metabolic products in the blood may progressively damage the elastic fibres in our blood vessels. Understanding these processes might help us to prevent the harmful effects of obesity.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Imperial College London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. B. Corden, N. G. Keenan, A. S. M. de Marvao, T. J. W. Dawes, A. DeCesare, T. Diamond, G. Durighel, A. D. Hughes, S. A. Cook, D. P. O'Regan. Body Fat Is Associated With Reduced Aortic Stiffness Until Middle Age. Hypertension, 2013; DOI: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.113.01177

Cite This Page:

Imperial College London. "Body fat hardens arteries after middle age." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130515085333.htm>.
Imperial College London. (2013, May 15). Body fat hardens arteries after middle age. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130515085333.htm
Imperial College London. "Body fat hardens arteries after middle age." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130515085333.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins