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Traffic noise 'may raise risk of high blood pressure'

26 October 2016 10:22

A new study has shed light on high blood pressure risks

A new study has shed light on high blood pressure risks

People could be at a bigger risk of having high blood pressure if their home is close to a busy road, research has suggested.

The study also indicated that long-term exposure to air pollution might raise someone's chances of having high blood pressure.

Over as many as nine years, experts assessed 41,000 people living in five separate nations.

It said that a n extra adult per every 100 in the most polluted areas will develop high blood pressure, in comparison to people who reside in less polluted places.

And hypertension may also be caused by the noise of loud traffic on busy streets, the study found.

Key findings

Published in the European Heart Journal, the research assessed people in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Spain over a period of between five and nine years.

None of those joining the study had high blood pressure. However, by the end of it, 15% had developed hypertension or were taking medication related to high blood pressure.

Traffic density and air pollution near to where people live were looked at.

Those living along noisy roads had a 6% increased risk of developing hypertension, the experts behind the research discovered. Such streets were classified as having average night-time noise levels of 50 decibels.

High blood pressure was also likelier to be an issue among those living in places which had higher concentrations of polluting particles.

Travel plans

Having high blood pressure should not put people off taking holidays abroad.

In fact, specific high blood pressure travel insurance is available to those venturing on overseas jaunts.

What the experts say

Lead author of the new study, Barbara Hoffmann, who is the professor of environmental epidemiology at Heinrich-Heine University of Dusseldorf, Germany, said: "Our findings show that long-term exposure to particulate air pollution is associated with a higher incidence of self-reported hypertension and with intake of anti-hypertensive medication.

"As virtually everybody is exposed to air pollution for all of their lives, this leads to a high number of hypertension cases, posing a great burden on the individual and on society."