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Risk of Hypertension For People Exposed To Airplane Noise!

Posted Aug 26 2008 11:26am

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a risk factor for heart disease and it is commonly linked to high salt intake, high-fat diet, high cholesterol level, obesity, or kidney failure. But if you stay near airport, you may need to monitor your blood pressure regularly because the noise pollution may put you at higher risk of hypertension.

A recent research from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm reported in the medical journal Epidemiology that among more than 2,000 men followed for a decade, those who lived in areas with the greatest noise from a nearby airport had a higher risk of developing high blood pressure.

The researchers suspect that for some of these individuals, the constant noise of planes create chronic stress that may interfere with their ability to think, relax or sleep. This could in turn raise their blood pressure.

2,027 men from 4 municipalities surrounding the Stockholm Arlanda airport who were free from high blood pressure at the study's outset were selected for the study. Government air traffic data was used to estimate the aircraft-noise exposure, and the new diagnoses of high blood pressure were tracked by the researchers over a period of 10 years.

20 percent of these men who were exposed to the highest average levels of airplane noise, were found to be 19 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure than their counterparts with lower-level noise exposure. The researchers also considered factors such as men's age, weight, income and exercise habits, but none of these changed the link between aircraft noise and blood pressure.

The researchers is still not 100 percent confident that airplane noise is directly responsible for the higher blood pressure. But, the current study along with past research do show that there is an association between noise exposure and high blood pressure.

Nevertheless, a large European study involving multiple airports is underway and hopefully it may provide a more definitive answer later on.
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