Traffic noise linked to higher heart disease risk

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Roaring jets, rumbling trains, and revving automobiles may have a detrimental effect on your cardiovascular health.

According to a review article in the Feb. 13, 2018, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, many studies have observed a connection between transportation-related noise and a slightly higher risk of high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, stroke, and heart failure. The association persists even after adjustment for possible confounding factors, such as air pollution and socioeconomic status.

Excess noise may disrupt sleep and cause agitation and stress during the day. That, in turn, may trigger the release of hormones and other substances known to damage blood vessels.

Efforts to minimize noise from road traffic (by far the greatest contributor of transportation noise) include lower speed limits, quieter road surfaces, and noise barriers along major highways. But more needs to be done, the authors say. If you live in a noisy area, consider wearing earplugs when you sleep.