Friday, 15 July 2016

Traffic noise linked to increased risk of heart attack

Traffic noise linked to increased risk of heart attack Traffic noise has been known to trigger stress reactions. If you live near a highway, you are at a greater risk of heart attack. Results of a case–control study based on secondary data published 17th June, 2016 in the journal Deutsches Arzteblatt International show that the risk of heart attack increases with the amount of exposure to traffic noise. This increase in risk was found to be greatest with road and rail traffic noise and less with aircraft noise. The evaluation was performed on the basis of the continuous 24-hour noise level and the categorized noise level (in 5 decibel classes). The study compared data from 19,632 patients from the Rhine-Main region of Germany who were diagnosed with myocardial infarction in the years 2006–2010 with 834,734 controls. Their exposure to aircraft, road and rail traffic in 2005 was matched to their residences. Analysing data specifically for those who died of heart attack up to 2014-15, a statistically significant risk increase due to road noise (2.8% per 10 dB rise) and railroad noise (2.3% per 10 dB rise) was observed, but not airplane noise. The author suggest that this may be due to the fact that with aircraft noise, unlike road and rail traffic noise, a continuous noise level above 65 dB did not occur; hence, the low risk association with aircraft noise. This study is part of the Europe-wide NORAH (Noise-Related Annoyance, Cognition, and Health) study investigating the health consequences of traffic noise.

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