Live by a Major Highway? You Might Be at a Higher Risk for a Heart Attack

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Roadway Noise Pollution

If you live close to a loud roadway, you could be a higher risk for a heart attack, according to a study from Denmark.

Researchers studied more than 50,000 participant for 10 years and were asked where they lived and whether they had ever had a heart attack. They also reported other information, including their diets and physical activity habits. The addresses of the study participants were used to assess the noise they experience in a day.

The study found that for every 10 decibels of roadway traffic noise, the risk of a heart attack increased 12 percent. Researchers estimate that 4 percent of all heart attacks in Denmark are related to traffic noise.

“You might wake up thinking that you had a quiet night, but when you look at it in a lab, you see that your sleep stages have been disturbed,” study lead researcher Mette Sorenson said.

Mette Sorenson of the Danish Cancer Society added, “We think traffic noise during the night is especially dangerous, because it disturbs sleep, but anytime you’ve been exposed to high levels of noise, you have increased concentrations of stress hormones in your body. Which could explain the increased heart attack risk.”

Sorenson suggests to choose a room with a low exposure to traffic noise for sleeping, or insulating the house against noise to reduce it as well. It is also possible for officials to pave highways with low-noise asphalt, she added.

A similar study was published earlier this year suggesting that people who survived a heart attack were more likely to die in a 10-year period if they lived closer to a major road with high roadway noise.

According to MyHealthNewsDaily, people who have had a heart attack, who lived 300 feet away from a major road, had a 27 percent increased risk of death, while the risk was 13 percent higher for people living 650 to 3,200 feet away.

The exact reason for the relationship between roadway noise and heart attacks hasn’t been identified yet, but researchers believe it may have to do with an increase in stress levels and sleep disturbances.

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