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Cardiovascular diseases in the elderly 

Cardiovascular diseases in the elderly
Cardiovascular diseases in the elderly

Heinrich Cornelissen

, Ivan L. Rapchuk

, and John F. Fraser

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date: 12 July 2020

This chapter details the complex nature of cardiovascular physiology with especial note of the changes known to occur with ageing. The neurohumoral cascade of ageing is described before a review of the pathophysiology of vascular ageing, including endothelial changes, the role of the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system (RAAS) and oxidative stress. This is followed by a clear explanation of cardiovascular ageing and the possible means to measure its impact. The particular problem of diastolic dysfunction in the elderly is explored, as is the potential therapies available with regard to preventing the effects of ageing. This includes modification of the RAAS, the use of β-blockade, statins, and lifestyle modification including exercise. Emerging therapies, such as the genetic deletion of proteins involved in mitochondrial reactive oxygen species generation and animal models leading to lifespan extension, which are targeted at the underlying endothelial ageing processes, appear to offer promise.

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