The mean systolic and diastolic blood pressures are shown in the data. Although the means for some of the age groups are not statistically different, overall the comparison participants have higher mean blood pressures than the astronauts. These differences may be due to differences in physical activity. The lower mean blood pressures are an indicator of better cardiac conditioning among the astronauts than among the comparison participants as a group. The ranges of individual measurements among the two groups do, however, overlap. These values also indicate that both the astronauts and the comparison participants may have experienced some decline in cardiac function with age. The rate of decline is similar in both groups even though the mean values for the astronauts are lower than the mean values for the comparison participants.
These are crude analyses that have not been adjusted for any other variables. Exercise, weight gain, other illnesses, life style activities, and use of medications to control hypertension all make an impact on cardiac function and might have been included as confounding variables. However, the intention of this examination was to look at the simple association of age and cardiac function. The results indicate that this association is an inverse one, and that the rate of decline may be similar for a range of initial blood pressure values.
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