Scientists find a new risk factor for heart disease

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Researchers from around the world have linked transportation noise to increased risks of heart and brain vascular diseases.

This group of experts, including noise specialists from Denmark, Switzerland, the United States, and Germany, has reviewed extensive data showing how noise from roads, railways, and airports contributes to health issues such as heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes.

Published in Circulation Research, their study emphasizes the need to treat traffic noise as a serious risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

The World Health Organization reports that in Western Europe alone, traffic noise leads to the loss of over 1.6 million healthy years of life annually.

The study details how nighttime traffic noise disrupts sleep, raises stress hormone levels, and increases oxidative stress in both the vascular system and brain.

These disruptions can lead to the formation of free radicals, which are molecules that may cause significant damage to body cells, including those in the heart and blood vessels.

Every increase of 10 decibels in noise exposure can raise the risk of cardiovascular diseases by 3.2%, according to the research.

The experts examined how noise affects gene networks, epigenetic pathways (which involve changes in gene activity without altering the DNA), and circadian rhythms (the body’s internal clock).

They also explored how noise influences the neuronal-cardiovascular axis, which links the nervous system and cardiovascular system, and contributes to inflammation and changes in metabolism.

The review brings new insights into the indirect effects of transportation noise on cardiovascular health and underlines the importance of noise reduction measures and regulations, especially post-COVID-19, when many people continue to be exposed to high levels of traffic noise.

Lead author Prof. Dr. Thomas Münzel of the University Medical Center Mainz stressed the significance of acknowledging traffic noise as a cardiovascular risk factor, given the compelling evidence and its widespread impact on public health.

The team’s findings support ongoing efforts to enhance noise control and promote quieter living environments to improve cardiovascular health outcomes.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease, and calcium supplements could harm your heart health.

For more information about health, please see recent studies that blackcurrants can reduce blood sugar after meal and results showing how drinking milk affects risks of heart disease and cancer.

The research findings can be found in Circulation Research.

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