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Your Heart May Be Effected By Traffic Jams

Posted Mar 14 2009 3:39pm

TRAFFIC AND CROWDS When I was a young U.S. Marine at Quantico Marine Base in Virginia, I would often jump in my car as soon as I would get off on a Thursday or Friday afternoon and head up home to Upstate NY. With a good flow of traffic I could make it there in about 8 hours. A good flow of traffic was never the case unless I left at the wee hours of the morning. If you ever travel on I95 or around the 495 Beltway around Washington D.C. then you know what I mean.

My first two cars didn’t have air conditioning and I would often get stuck in the heat in stop-n-go traffic along the beltway. My temper and patience back then was terrible. I had a very short fuse and would often get worked up when I was stuck in that traffic, submitting myself to stress. These days I’ve learned that no matter how much you complain and scream about it, it’s not going to make the cars in front of you move.

A recent study in Germany showed that people that are at risk of heart attack or have had heart problems are more likely to suffer from a heart attack after being stuck in congested traffic. They are not 100% sure what is the main contributing factor, whether it be the stress, heat or carbon monoxide. However, a combination of those three elements can surely raise anyone’s blood pressure.

“We found that when people are participating in traffic, they have a threefold increased risk to experience a heart a attack one hour later,” said study author Annette Peters, head of the research unit at the Institute of Epidemiology in Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen, Germany, and an adjunct associate professor in Harvard’s School of Public Health.

They also say that for people with low risk of heart attack are less likely to have any heart attack risk in relation to traffic jams. Read more about this study at MSN Health. For your entertainment, I think we can all relate to the opening scene of the highly under-rated movie Office Space.


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