Heart disease is the major cause of death in people above the age of seventy, of which Coronary Artery Disease
(CAD) is significantly prevalent. High blood pressure is part of growing old and with it the chances of developing conditions such as stroke and heart failure.
A decline in cardio-vascular function is observed with age .If a person is healthy, this decline may not make a significant impact; however, in the case of the individuals with heart diseases, age- associated changes may compound the condition or impede the effect of treatment.
The variants of the two genes linked to longevity, the apoE (which produces the protein apolipoprotein E) and the ACE (Angiotensin Converting Enzyme)gene are also associated with heart disease. The E2 variant of the apoE is more likely to be present in people who live long, while the E4 variant predisposes individuals to heart diseases and Alzheimer’s disease. The gene ACE plays a role in blood pressure regulation while a variant of this gene results in heart disease.
It is interesting how the same gene can have a negative and a positive effect on a person’s health. More research is needed to understand the underlying mechanisms.