Arterial stiffness occurs as a consequence of age and arteriosclerosis. Age related stiffness occurs when the elastic fibres within the arterial wall (elastin) begin to fray due to mechanical stress. The two leading causes of death in the developed world, myocardial infarction and stroke, are both a direct consequence of atherosclerosis. Increased arterial stiffness is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events. The World Health Organisation predicts that in 2010, cardiovascular disease will also be the leading killer in the developing world and represents a major global health problem.
Read more about Arterial Stiffness: Background, The Pathophysiology of Arterial Stiffness
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