Noisy neighborhood might increase heart attack risk

Noisy neighborhood might increase heart attack risk

Many poor habits threaten our heart health. Smoking. Excessive drinking. Not exercising. Eating junk food. Now you can add living near trains, planes and automobiles.

A study presented at the American College of Cardiology’s annual session found that people living in areas with loud transportation noise suffered more heart attacks. That is compared with folks who lived in quieter neighborhoods.

Scientists examined a group of 16,000 New Jersey residents who were hospitalized with a heart attack in 2018. They paired that data with information on noise levels around the state as compiled by transportation officials. The study found that heart attacks were 72% more plentiful in areas with more transportation noise. These locations experienced about 3,300 heart attacks per 100,000 people, compared with 1,938 per 100,000 in those places that were more sonically tranquil.

Investigators estimate that 1 in 20 heart attacks in New Jersey can be attributed to noise pollution.

The analysis didn’t delve into the biology of why noise leads to heart problems. But chronic noise pollution can heighten stress, disturb our sleep and cause depression and anxiety. All of this has been shown to threaten cardiovascular health.

Researchers note that areas with high levels of transportation noise also are bound to have increased air pollution. And that might confound results. They say more work is needed to disentangle the two.

In the future, they also hope to look at what types of transportation pose the greatest risk to health.

The hope is that this warning about noise and the heart does not fall on deaf ears.

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