Advancing age affects vascular structure and function. However, since the aging process varies between men and women, there must be other factors that influence aging. Extensive medical literature describes how vascular function differs in older and younger individuals. Certainly genetics have a major and defining influence on longevity. The question that begs an answer is, do environmental factors (eg, smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle) affect the aging process and thus the genetically predicted age?

To help define the effects of genetics and environment on aging in the vascular system, a number of questions are presented with discussions of the answers.

1.    f. advancing age

The explosions in biological information, pharmaco-technological breakthroughs, and advances in primary and secondary prevention, as well as trends toward improved lifestyles, have resulted in a 60% decline in mortality from vascular diseases. However, because vascular diseases are more prevalent in the aged, the increase in longevity has...

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