Arterial Stiffness

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Self researcher(s) Renate Zwijsen
Related tools finger clip machine
Related topics Heart rate, Cardiovascular, Chronic disease, Blood tests and blood pressure, Artificial Stifness

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Date 2013/05/11
Event name 2013 QS Global Conference
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Arterial Stiffness is a Show & Tell talk by Renate Zwijsen that has been imported from the Quantified Self Show & Tell library.The talk was given on 2013/05/11 and is about Heart rate, Cardiovascular, Chronic disease, Blood tests and blood pressure, and Artificial Stifness.

Description[edit | edit source]

A description of this project as introduced by Quantified Self follows:

Renate Zwijsen talks about arterial stiffness, some new insights and biomarkers for cardio physical health. Arterial stiffness refers to the elasticity of the arteries, as one ages so does his/her blood vessels. About half of the people suffering from heart disease have normal blood pressure and normal cholesterol and it's likely linked to arterial stiffness, which is a strong independent predictor of heart attack and stroke.

Video and transcript[edit | edit source]

A transcript of this talk is below:

Arterial Stiffness

I like to talk about new insights and biomarkers for cardio physical health and as you all know blood pressure and cholesterol are important factors, however did you also know that half of the people suffering from heart disease have normal blood pressure and normal cholesterol. So there should be another factor that’s linked and it turns out it’s arterial stiffness. So arterial stiffness refers to the elasticity of the arteries and I was wondering did any of you hear about arterial stiffness before today, is it very common? Okay, there are a few people that has heard about it, well it’s not new because the first statement on arterial stiffness and its importance of health dated from the 17th Century so that’s quite a long time. But it was discovered by the Framingham Heart Study and maybe you’ve heard it because that’s the same study that has discovered cholesterol and blood pressure as respect for cardiovascular health 50 years ago. So after 50 years and they discovered the third effect and that’s arterial stiffness, and they stated that it’s a strong independent predictor of heart attack and stroke. I think when you compare this with cholesterol and blood pressure I think there’s a main difference in arterial stiffness in that it’s really a sensitive predictor, because when you measure your arterial stiffness you measure the current status of the condition of your blood vessels. So it’s focused on your personal risk of cardiovascular health and when you compare that with cholesterol or blood pressure, there you measure serum levels and the possibility that it can cause something at first on your heart. So here we are looking for your personal risk, the status of your artery when you compare this with other biomarkers. So what’s arterial stiffness? It’s all about ageing. So when you compare this for the ageing of your skin so it’s really visible. You can see you get wrinkles when you age, and that’s because especially the middle layer of your skin, the fibers are changing and that’s really visible. What you don’t see and what’s the same is that your blood vessels also age. So normally when you are ageing the middle layer of your blood vessels become thicker, the fibers change, and the arteries will lose their flexibility and become stiff. So why do we need elasticity of our arteries, especially the arteries nearby the heart? Well, normally when your heart beats at that moment it injects a lot of blood with a lot of pressure into your elastic aorta, your large artery and what it has to do then is dilate because it has to dampen this huge blood pressure at that moment. When you have stiff arteries they are not able anymore to dilate that anymore. So what’s happening is that the blood flow in your large artery will increase. And the effect is of this increase of your blood flow you can compare with a tsunami; it can damage our arteries, especially the small arteries because they are vulnerable and especially the arteries of the heart, your brain, and the kidney can damage when the blood flow is too high. So when you have stiff arteries the blood flow is high and this is the type of measurement we do. So we look at the speed of the blood flow, that means the higher the blood flow the stiffer the arteries. So there are several devices on the market, and since almost a decade now it’s also able that you can measure it in a non-evasive way and that was also the moment a lot of studies has been done on this topic, and now there’s a lot of evidence also that arterial stiffness is very important for cardiovascular heath, but also for other normal diseases like obesity and diabetes. The the gold standard is the stiff (marcod? 06:14) it’s quite expensive; it’s €10,000 and also it’s not easy to handle because you really have to be a skilled person to do it in a proper way. Other devices similar to us it the V Corder, we have also here where we can test your vascular age. But on the other side there are lower cost, easy to use devices. They are less accurate but give you a good number of your blood flow speed at that moment and most of the common use are the finger clips. So there is a device clip and a where we compare the bio-clip with the golden standard I think that’s the most accurate of the lower cost devices and out most preferred one, but also the watches on the market. And because it is an emerging area we predict that in the future apps will appear in this health area topic. So since a couple of years we are able to measure this arterial stiffness and I did it with this (filtrate? 07:53) finger clip machine and here you can see the results. So I was a little bit surprised because I have normal blood pressure, normal cholesterol so I predicted my condition of my blood vessels will be okay but I was not unsure when I was shown the results I have to say. What you see here is the curve of the filtrate velocity and my index is higher than what it should be for my age. So I see it’s above 10.8 and normally it should be below this 10, and then I compared it with my age and it’s eight years too old, so I thought are there possibilities that I can change this. Is there a window of opportunity that you can train your blood vessels and get them into a good shape? Well indeed there was. When we look in the literature then we see that lifestyle is important and we know that for blood pressure and cholesterol but it’s also true for arterial stiffness. So then I did 15 minutes of aerobics, so that’s not really much I see that the acute effects on this is that my stiffness dropped with one units and that’s okay, that’s 10% and also my vascular age responded to that, so that an acute effect and after one hour it’s more or less the same when I started. But when I look at a lot of studies focusing on the effect of exercise in arterial stiffness, it turned out that when you do this at least for six month maybe one year you can really drop a little bit of your arterial stiffness. So there’s a window of about 10 to 15% that’s open and variable here. And that together with exercising and good nutrition, so in the literature there is a lot of data and studies that show that the Omega 3 fish oil but also the vitamin K2 in cheese can make a difference in your arterial stiffness but also there are also minerals like magnesium and especially vitamin D is important here and what we know about blood pressure itself is not good and also in high weight and smoking will affect this arterial stiffness. So what I learned here that there is really a window of opportunity to change arterial stiffness so you can train your blood vessels to keep in shape, but the common lifestyle and things for blood pressure and cholesterol also are important for this arterial stiffness.

So when you are interested check your vascular condition and it’s the end of the day and I’ve seen a lot of people have visited our booth and you can check this and I will stop and take your questions.

About the presenter[edit | edit source]

Renate Zwijsen gave this talk.