big arteries = less heart attacks?

Is it a scientifically proven that people with big arteries have less incidence of heart attacks?

If this is true,is it shows that people of various backgrounds have differing sizes of heart arteries and thus incidences of heart failures?
thanks
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anushahannaAsked:
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moorhouselondonCommented:
There are so many interacting things here to say definitively, because say whether someone smokes heavily or not will be a factor.  

Low blood pressure is generally accepted to mean less chance of heart attacks.  Does low blood pressure equate to having larger arteries?  The following Wikipedia article talks about Resistance, where the radius of the arteries and the smoothness of them has the effect of reducing blood pressure.  Again though, it is one of a number of factors.

N.B. I have no medical qualifications.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_pressure

From this Wikipedia article:-

Resistance. In the circulatory system, this is the resistance of the blood vessels. The higher the resistance, the higher the arterial pressure  upstream from the resistance to blood flow. Resistance is related to vessel radius (the larger the radius, the lower the resistance), vessel length (the longer the vessel, the higher the resistance), as well as the smoothness of the blood vessel walls. Smoothness is reduced by the build up of fatty deposits on the arterial walls. Substances called vasoconstrictors can reduce the size of blood vessels, thereby increasing BP. Vasodilators (such as nitroglycerin) increase the size of blood vessels, thereby decreasing arterial pressure. Resistance, and its relation to volumetric flow rate (Q) and pressure  difference between the two ends of a vessel are described by Poiseuille's Law.
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anushahannaAuthor Commented:
interesting co-relation, indeed. But you do not see any relation to the country or region of origin, do you? for example, men of particular age of one continent in general have bigger arteries than men of the same age in another continent etc.
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moorhouselondonCommented:
There might be some correlation when you compare not with continent but with altitude.

http://anthro.palomar.edu/adapt/adapt_3.htm

Quote from that link:-

The implication is that natural selection  over thousands of years results in some populations being genetically more suited to the stresses at high altitude.  However, different populations respond physiologically to low oxygen pressure in somewhat different ways.  The primary solution of Indians from the high mountain valleys in Peru and Bolivia has been to produce more hemoglobin in their blood and to increase their lung expansion capability.  Both result in an increase of oxygen carried by the blood.  In contrast, the common solution of Tibetans and Nepalese who live at high altitudes generally has been to breathe faster in order to take in more oxygen and to have broader arteries and capillaries, thereby allowing much higher rates of blood flow and subsequently greater amounts of oxygen delivered to their muscles.
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anushahannaAuthor Commented:
so there is indirect benefit to living in high places?
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moorhouselondonCommented:
Not to simply living in high places: people who live at sea level can adapt to live in the mountains, but that doesn't make their arteries any bigger.  People who are susceptible to heart problems are recommended not to travel to high altitudes.  People who have lived at high altitudes for many generations may have adapted to their environment by having broader arteries.  So there may be a benefit to such people coming to live at sea level, however other factors may offset that advantage.
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anushahannaAuthor Commented:
is flying considering traveling to high altitudes?
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moorhouselondonCommented:
No because you are effectively in an artificial pressure chamber.

Space travel might be different because I would have thought that the valves have less work to do in pumping blood round the system.  However I would have thought that the stress of take-off/landing would be enough to precipitate a heart attack in anyone below par in fitness lol.
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anushahannaAuthor Commented:
>However I would have thought that the stress of take-off/landing would be enough to precipitate a heart attack in anyone below par in fitness

you mean for real?

in relation to the original question, if someone has been living in a high elevation all their life, they have a good chance of having broader arteries and hence less chance of heart attack?
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moorhouselondonCommented:
>if someone has been living in a high elevation all their life

There is no "natural selection" involved for the duration of someone's life.  That genetic advantage can only occur after a number of generations.  You either have broad arteries or you don't.  Ok circumstances can occur which affects the average radius of a given artery, but those circumstances are common to the entire population.  

>if someone has been living in a high elevation all their life, they have a good chance of having broader arteries and hence less chance of heart attack?

I would say the opposite of this is true.  Medical advice if you have a bad heart: don't live in mountains.

I would rewrite your statement thus:-

>if someone has broad arteries, they have a better chance of reduced heart attacks by living at sea level.
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anushahannaAuthor Commented:
Thanks. I am learning a thing or two from you here.

So to summarize, would this be accurate:

"People do not have broader arteries than what they have when they are born with a particular trait/dimension of heart growth.

And in general, for heart health, it is good to live in sea level, regardless of if you have broad or narrow arteries.

And apart from the altitude issue, keeping the blood pressure low helps the heart.
"
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moorhouselondonCommented:
I think that sums up the things that I believe to be true.
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anushahannaAuthor Commented:
Thanks 'artery' expert!
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moorhouselondonCommented:
Careful, give me too many compliments and I will become vein.

Thank you for the points, and congratulations for being the EE 2009 Closer.
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