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Air and noise pollution associated with increased heart failure

Air and noise pollution associated with increased heart failure

  • October 24, 2021

October 22, 2021 – Exposure to air pollution and road traffic noise for several years may increase your risk of heart failure, according to a new study from a large observational study.

The study looked at more than 22,000 nurses in Denmark aged 44 and older over a period of 15 to 20 years to assess the effects of exposure to particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide and road traffic noise.

The results showed that increased exposure to these pollutants was associated with a significantly increased risk of new heart failure after just 3 years

Former smokers and high blood pressure patients were the most susceptible to the negative effects of particulate matter, says Youn-Hee Lim, PhD, lead author of the study and assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Health at the Department of Public Health at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

In fact, ex-smokers who were exposed to particulate matter for long periods of time were 72% more likely to develop heart failure. They weren’t able to study long-term exposure to particulate matter, says Lim, “so we can’t say when the risk of heart failure becomes critical.”

The road traffic noise was determined by measuring the road noise within a radius of 3 kilometers around the apartments of the participants. Although the association was not as strong for street noise as it was for pollutants, it was nonetheless associated with a higher risk of heart failure.

The findings were published online by doing American Heart Association Journal.

While previous studies have linked air pollution and cardiovascular disease, there has been little research to date on the link between prolonged air pollution and heart failure, says Lim.

“Because air pollutants and road traffic noise share an important source – traffic – it is important to consider the independent or interactive health effects of the two exposures,” the researchers write.

With emissions standards now in place to fight pollution, it’s interesting that researchers wanted to study air pollution as a risk for heart failure, says Ileana L. Piña, MD, a heart failure transplant cardiologist and professor of medicine at Wayne State University.

“You think of respiratory diseases in cities with high air pollution, but not heart failure,” says Piña, who was not involved in this study. “Next, I think we need to relate what actually caused the trauma in this polluted air.”

Every woman who took part in the study completed a comprehensive questionnaire Body mass index; Lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity and eating habits; current state of health; reproductive health; and working conditions. The study did not take into account factors such as exposure to indoor air pollution or noise in the workplace, which may have influenced the results.

Lim says broad public tactics like better emissions control measures can help lessen the effects of pollution, as can things like quitting smoking and controlling blood pressure.


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