Aortic Stiffness a predictor of Dementia and Cognitive Decline
Oct 8, 2015 by Dr. Jess Goodman | lifestyle
The brain is a fantastic organ, it holds our thoughts and memories and controls many bodily functions. The thought of losing the ability to think intelligently is a common fear. Aortic Stiffness, the health metric used by iHeart to determine your Internal Age, has been shown in recent studies to be correlated with Cognitive Decline and Dementia. The Aorta is the body's largest blood vessel running from the heart through the chest and abdomen.
Primary Pulse Wave of the Aorta
As Aortic Stiffness stiffness increases with age there is an increase in pressure affecting the brain's small and fragile blood vessels. When the heart beats a Primary pulse wave travels down the Aorta and after reaching the end of the Aorta reflects back towards the heart. This Reflected Wave returns to the heart, in a young person, at the end of the heart's contraction phase and helps blood flow into the coronary arteries feeding the heart muscle. As the Aorta stiffens with age and inactivity the speed with which the Reflected Wave travels along the Aorta increases and the Reflected Wave returns to the heart earlier and earlier. The Reflected Wave in a stiffer Aorta meets the outgoing Primary Wave, causing an increase in blood pressure with very high peak pressure moments that affect the brain and other tissues. These high peak pressure moments damage the endothelial lining of the brain's blood vessels, leading to changes that eventually result in reduced blood flow to the brain tissue and gradual decline in cognitive abilities.
Preventing Cognitive Decline and Dementia
There are many ways to prevent cognitive decline and dementia; a wholesome diet, regular activity, lowered stress levels and good quality sleep. Aortic Stiffness has been specifically shown to improve with attention to exercise and diet. The key to staying healthy is to find out how your body reacts to specific foods, exercises, and stress levels.
Previously the only way to obtain Aortic Stiffness measurements was to go to a medical research lab and have a test done with very expensive and complicated equipment. Over the years I've developed, tested and validated a product called iHeart Internal Age, which measures Aortic Stiffness to determine your Internal Age at that very moment. The thing is, the body is dynamic and always changing, so your iHeart Internal Age will change throughout the day, as well as before and after both positive, and negative external factors. iHeart is a preventative tool that you can use to tweak your lifestyle to watch your Internal Age drop, which will improve your health, increase your lifespan and keep your brain young and alert.