How old are your arteries ?

Colour Doppler of Common Carotid Artery

Image via Wikipedia

How healthy are your arteries that supply the blood to your brain (carotid arteries)? Your brain health is influenced by getting an adequate blood supply. What do you think happens to your brain health if it is not getting sufficient blood supply due to blocked unhealthy arteries?

A frightening new study (abstract published at the American Heart Association meeting) indicates that for at risk children (obese or high cholesterol with an average age around 14 years) their vascular age was that of a 45 year old. Scary !

Using ultrasound imaging of the neck arteries (measuring the thickness of the inner walls of the carotid (neck) arteries – these are the ones supplying blood to the brain) of these children they could compare them to various age ranges to get a vascular age of these group of kids.

On average these kids had a cholesterol level of 223.4 mg/dL, LDL cholesterol of 149.8 mg/dL, triglyceride levels of 151.9 mg/dL.

The triglyceride levels of over 100 mg/dL was the best predictor of advanced vascular aging among the lipid risk factors. And those kids that were obese and triglycerides above 100 mg/dL were even worse off.

Do you know your cholesterol and triglyceride levels and what the norms are? If you don’t maybe you should.

What best correlated to the bad carotid artery inner wall thickness was the simple body mass index (BMI) and higher systolic blood pressure. Two fairly easy measurements for all of us to obtain. For a simple BMI calculator go here. Overweight is anything above 25, and obese is anything above 30. Go to your doctors or a drug store and get your blood pressure measurements.

You want a healthy cardiovascular system if you want a healthy and functioning brain. Everything is connected.

Back to the 14 year kids with arteries of a 45 year old. This is not a good picture, not a good future. Thirty years added to their age which would suggest they are more likely to die at 45 instead of 75. And I would guess that this increased age of arteries keep on getting worse with a continuation of their current lifestyle. Instead of their arteries 30 years older than their real age, maybe it stretches out to 40 or 45. A truly scary scenario. And think of the current epidemic of obesity in children, what does this hold for the future of this generation? Will for the first time in current developed nations we have a decrease in lifespan – or we will spend billions upon billions to use advanced modern medicine to keep them alive, and what will this cost society not only at a financial level but at a functional level?

Do what ever you can to have a healthy cardiovascular system; exercise and eat healthy – and try to do this everyday.