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Aircraft noise link to heart disease

Wednesday June 14th, 2017

Long-term exposure to continuous aircraft noise may be linked to hypertension, Greek researchers have reported.

The study took place close to Athens International Airport, Greece, which has up to 600 take-offs and landings every day. Total aircraft and road traffic noise levels varied from below 50 decibels to over 60 dB. The health of a group of 420 people living near the airport was recorded nine to seven years later.

Measurements showed that nearly 45% of the participants were exposed to more than 55 dB of daytime aircraft noise, and 27% were exposed to over 45 dB of night-time aircraft noise - 11pm to 7am.

During the study, 71 people were newly diagnosed with high blood pressure, 44 were diagnosed with cardiac arrhythmia, and 18 had a myocardial infarction.

Analysis showed that exposure to aircraft noise was linked to all cases of high blood pressure. At night, the risk was especially high, at nearly three times the rate as that for people with no exposure.

Full results of the research are published today (14 June) in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

The authors, led by Professor Klea Katsouyanni of the University of Athens, write: "Doctor-diagnosed cardiac arrhythmia was significantly associated with night aircraft noise exposure. Stroke risk was also increased with increasing noise exposure but the association was not significant."

They add: "Twenty-four-hour road traffic noise associations with the outcomes considered were weaker and less consistent. A growing body of evidence links noise exposure to ill health.

"We anticipate that the research undertaken will be useful for improving the quality of public health in areas where exposure to transportation-related noise is prevalent."

Dimakopoulou, K. et al. Is aircraft noise exposure associated with cardiovascular disease and hypertension? Results from a cohort study in Athens, Greece. Occupational & Environmental Medicine 14 June 2017; doi 10.1136/oemed-2016-104180 [abstract]

Tags: Europe | Heart Health | Traveller Health

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