The most important cardiovascular risk factors (hypercholesterolemia , hypertension, diabetes, chronic stress, physical inactivity, smoking, adipositas) were evaluated in the second half of the last century using placebo controlled trials. The mechanismen of action was not fully understood or remained unclear. In some studies not only the risk of atherosclerosis was reduced but life expectancy was improved. The length of telomeres is influenced by many of the cardiovascular risk factors and is a biomarker of age. Reduced telomere length are found in higher age, atherosclerosis, hypertension, adipositas, diabetes, smoking, physical inactivity, heart failure, maltreatment in childhood, exposure to traffic pollution, chronic infection, single life and dementia. A positive effect on telomerase and telomere length is found with increased physical activity, statins for treatment of hypercholesterolemia, and higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids. The probable mechanismen for this is an activation of telomerase activity. Many of the cardiovascular risk factors influence the cellular DNA by telomere shortening. These effects could be reduced by life style measures with prudent diet and drugs for good somatic fitness and healthy aging. By this mechanism cardiovascular prevention not only reduces the risk of atherosclerosis but also improves life exspectancy by anti-aging effects.


Kardiologischen Klinik, Herz- und Diabeteszentrum NRW, Bad Oeynhausen, Universitätsklinik der Ruhr-Universität Bochum.