Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis
Online ISSN : 1880-3873
Print ISSN : 1340-3478
ISSN-L : 1340-3478
Original Article
Cardiovascular Risk Age Reflects Arterial Status: Middle-Aged People Showed Equivalent Arterial Stiffness to Older People in the Same Risk Category
Lia Alves-CabratosaMarc Elosua-BayésRuth Martí-LluchJordi BlanchÈric Tornabell-NogueraMaria Garcia-GilAnna PonjoanMaria GrauFrancesc Ribas-AulinasLluís Zacarías-PonsJaume MarrugatRafel Ramos
Author information

2024 Volume 31 Issue 5 Pages 626-640


Aim: The concept of risk age may help overcome an excessive weight of age in cardiovascular risk functions. This study aimed to evaluate the equivalence of risk age with arterial stiffness by comparing people with increased risk age and individuals with the same chronological and risk age. In order to materialize this aim, we categorized individuals based on cardiovascular risk and compared groups with increased risk factors (other than age) and groups with normal levels.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional population-level study carried out in Girona province within the context of the REGICOR study (Girona Heart Registry). In this study, individuals aged 35–90 years who had a brachial–ankle pulse wave velocity measurement and with no previous cardiovascular disease or peripheral arterial disease were included. Cardiovascular risk was estimated with the FRESCO (in 35–79 year-olds), SCORE2 (in 35–69 year-olds), and SCORE2-OP (in 70–90 year-olds) functions and categorized to calculate and compare (in each category) the median chronological age in the group with increased risk factors and the reference. Arterial stiffness was assessed with the brachial–ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV). The analyses were carried out separately by sex.

Results: In this study, 2499 individuals were included, with a mean age of 59.7 and 46.9% of men. Men presented worse health condition, including a higher mean cardiovascular disease risk score. Both men and women with increased levels of risk factors showed worse health condition than the respective men and women with optimal levels. In each risk category, the groups with higher risk age than chronological age (increased risk factors) were similar in baPWV values to the groups with the same chronological and risk ages (reference), who were consistently older.

Conclusions: In categories with the same cardiovascular risk, the arterial stiffness of participants with a higher risk factor burden (increased risk age) matched that of older participants with the rest of the risk factors at optimal levels (same chronological and risk age). These results support the guidelines on the utilization of risk age to explain heightened cardiovascular risk, particularly among individuals in middle age.

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