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Blood pressure link to road noise

14th September 2009

According to new Swedish research, people whose homes are located to close to noisy traffic may be at risk for high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease, stroke, and chronic renal failure.

trafficjam1

The research team, which gathered data from some 28,000 people, found that people with high blood pressure due to noise pollution from traffic were exposed to 60 decibels per day, on average.

Since some 25% of all people living in western Europe are exposed to similar levels of traffic-related noise pollution, many people may be at risk for high blood pressure simply because of where they choose to live.

After the researchers had polled their subjects, they also analysed noise pollution levels around some of their homes.

And while people who were exposed to traffic noise averaging out at 60 decibels per day had a 25% higher chance of high blood pressure, people exposed to more than 64 decibels per day had more than a 90% rate of high blood pressure.

For people above 60 years of age, the link between traffic noise and blood pressure was not as clear.

The researchers surmised that this was because people over 60 who live under such conditions had either become desensitised or had already developed the condition.

Theo Bodin, the author of the report, said that road traffic noise is the most important source of community noise.

He said that he thought his team had found a link between hypertension and noise-triggered stress, in line with conclusions made on the basis of other studies.

However, he said further research needed to be done.

Alan Maryon-Davis, president of the UK's Faculty of Public Health, said he believed researchers had found an association rather than a cause, and that other factors, including smoking, diet and deprivation, were likely to play more of a role in people's blood pressure.


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