Study explores link between noise and heart disease

Study explores link between noise and heart disease. (ABC7)

It's no secret city life can be stressful at times, with all the traffic and noise. And a new study suggests that noise could be bad for your heart.

According to the report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, "noise may disrupt the body on a cellular level" resulting in heart disease.

In the report, the authors write that noise generates a stress response, activating the sympathetic nervous system and increasing levels of hormones, which ultimately lead to vascular damage.

“The noise can lead to increased oxidative stress. It can impair the way that blood vessels function. All of which can lead to things like heart attacks and strokes,” said Dr. William Borden, an ACC Fellow and an associate professor of medicine and health policy at George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates.

Dr. Borden cautions more research is needed. Before worrying about moving to a quieter neighborhood, he said people should first focus on traditional risk factors.

“Blood pressure control, controlling cholesterol, quitting smoking and getting good diet and exercise,” he said.

But researchers say there is growing evidence that environmental factors can also impact heart health. And Dr. Borden suggests those should also be considered.

“Stress modification, getting enough sleep and certainly, if they're in a place where there is loud noise where they're working, having hearing protection,” he suggested.

For many, noise is just another part of city life. But some believe local lawmakers should do more to reduce and regulate noise.

The authors of the ACC review suggested public policy makers might implement mitigation strategies to reduce noise, such as traffic management, low-noise tires and air traffic curfews.

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