Scientists Discover New Risk Factor for Heart Disease – Transportation Noise

Heart Disease

In a groundbreaking study, researchers from around the globe have identified transportation noise as a significant risk factor for heart and brain vascular diseases. This international team, comprising noise specialists from Denmark, Switzerland, the United States, and Germany, has meticulously reviewed extensive data, revealing how noise from roads, railways, and airports contributes to health issues such as heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes.

Published in Circulation Research, their study underscores the urgency to treat traffic noise as a serious risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The World Health Organization reports that in Western Europe alone, traffic noise results in the loss of over 1.6 million healthy years of life annually.

The study elaborates on how nighttime traffic noise disrupts sleep, elevates stress hormone levels, and heightens oxidative stress in both the vascular system and brain. These disruptions can lead to the formation of free radicals, molecules that may inflict significant damage to body cells, including those in the heart and blood vessels.

The research reveals that every increase of 10 decibels in noise exposure can escalate the risk of cardiovascular diseases by 3.2%. The experts explored into how noise impacts gene networks, epigenetic pathways (which involve changes in gene activity without altering the DNA), and circadian rhythms (the body’s internal clock).

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

This review offers fresh insights into the indirect effects of transportation noise on cardiovascular health and highlights 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 emphasized the importance of recognizing traffic noise as a cardiovascular risk factor, given the compelling evidence and its widespread impact on public health.

The team’s findings bolster ongoing efforts to enhance noise control and advocate for quieter living environments to improve cardiovascular health outcomes. If you are concerned about heart health, consider reading studies about the optimal time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease, and how calcium supplements could potentially harm your heart health. This research underscores the need for a holistic approach to heart health, considering not just diet and exercise, but also our living environments.

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