Can Air Pollution and Traffic Noise Increase the Risk of Heart Failure? Read to Know
A study reveals that exposure to air pollution and road traffic noise, over the years, can increase the risk of developing heart failure. This correlation appears to be even higher in people, who are former smokers or suffer from high blood pressure. These findings of the research were published in the ‘Journal of the American Heart Association’, which is an open-access journal of the American Heart Association.
The lead author of the study Youn-Hee Lim stated that it is necessary to take preventive and educational measures before it’s too late. He further suggested to minimize the impact of such exposures, tactics such as emission control measures should be implemented. “Strategies like smoking cessation and blood pressure control must be encouraged to help reduce individual risk,” he added.
The research had examined the impact of long-term exposure to environment, from air pollution and road traffic noise, on the development of heart failure in a Denmark-based group of female nurses over a course of 15-20 years. The study covered over 22,000 members, age 44 or older. Participants of this study were recruited in 1993 or 1999, and at the time of enrolling each woman had to fill up a comprehensive questionnaire. The questions covered lifestyle factors, body mass index, reproductive health and working conditions, and pre-existing health conditions.
Apart from measuring individual exposure to air pollution and road traffic noise, researchers also examined and analyzed various pollutants and their effects on incident heart failure.
Lim revealed that air pollution emerged as a stronger contributor to heart failure compared to road traffic noise. However, he continued, the women exposed to both high levels of air pollution and road traffic noise exhibited the highest risk of heart failure.
The study has several limitations, which include a couple of additional variables that could have affected the results of the analysis. These include amount of time spent outdoors, individual socioeconomic status, individual’s exposure to indoor air pollution, exposure to occupational noise, and glass thickness of the windows of their home.