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Traffic Noise is Indeed Raising Your Blood Pressure



The majority of us are familiar with road rage, which is aggressive driving while under stress or rage. However, not only does the sound of engines revving and horns being blown affect the people inside the vehicle, but it can also raise blood pressure in nearby residents.

Although previous studies had demonstrated a link between road traffic noise and an increased risk of hypertension, or high blood pressure, it was still unclear whether the noise or traffic pollution was to blame. Researchers claim to now possess the supporting evidence.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 240,000 people between the ages of 40 and 69 who did not initially have hypertension by utilizing health outcome data from the biomedical database UK Biobank. This database contains genetic and health information from half a million people in the UK.

The American College of Cardiology team looked at follow-up data over a median of 8.1 years to see how many people developed high blood pressure. They did this by using residential addresses and a European modeling tool called the Common Noise Assessment Method.

The findings, which were presented Wednesday in the journal JACC: Researchers were surprised by advances. Even after adjusting for nitrogen dioxide and fine particles, people who lived near road traffic noise had a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, and this risk increased with the “dose” of noise.

Risk of hypertension is raised by a louder environment

Kazem Rahimi, senior author and University of Oxford professor of cardiovascular medicine and population health, stated: “Because areas that are noisy tend to have a high level of air pollution as well, one question that arises is whether each are independently contributing to risk and this was indeed the case. Living in noisy and polluted zones amplified the risk of hypertension.”

This isn’t to imply that air contamination doesn’t assume a part in hypertension: The risk of hypertension was highest among those who were exposed to a lot of noise from traffic and pollution in the air.

“We did not detect a threshold of noise above which the risk started to increase. The risk increased with higher levels of noise, starting at the lowest category that was measured in the study,” Rahimi said, adding that this was 10 decibels.

“The association was graded: That means the higher the noise level the higher risk of hypertension in the future,” Rahimi told in an email.

Rahimi added: “Policymaking towards road traffic noise control as a societal effort would be helpful, such as setting stricter noise guideline and enforcement, improving road conditions and urban design, and investing advanced technology on quieter vehicles such as EVs (electric vehicles).”

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that approximately 1.28 billion adults worldwide between the ages of 30 and 79 have hypertension, with two-thirds of these individuals living in low- and middle-income countries.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the condition raises the risk of heart disease and stroke, the two leading causes of death in the United States. However, the World Health Organization estimates that 46% of adults do not know they have hypertension.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), factors such as older age, genetics, being overweight or obese, not being physically active, eating a high-salt diet, and drinking too much alcohol raise the risk of high blood pressure.

The best way to determine whether you have the condition so that you can manage it and lower your risk is to have your blood pressure measured because the condition typically lacks symptoms.


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