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Front Biosci (Elite Ed). 2012 Jun 1;4:2617-37.

Age related cardiovascular dysfunction and effects of physical activity.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.


The aim of the present article is to review the principal pathogenetic pathways of age-related cardiovascular changes and the positive effects of physical activity on these changes as well as on related cardiovascular dysfunction. The ageing mechanisms reviewed have been grouped into reduced tolerance of oxidative stress, loss of cardiac stem cells, cardiovascular remodeling and impairment of neurovegetative control. New pathogenetic conditions and their tests are described (sirtuines, telomere length, heart rate variability). Age related cardiovascular changes predispose the individual to arterial hypertension, heart failure and arrythmia. A broad spectrum of tests are available to indentify and monitor the emerging cardiovascular dysfunction. Physical activity influences all age related cardiovascular mechanisms, improves cardiovascular function and even, at moderate intensity can reduce mortality and heart attack risk. It is likely that the translation of laboratory studies to humans will improve understanding and stimulate the use of physical activity to benefit cardiovascular patients.

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