Noise and fine dust increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases
For a long time, researchers suspected that continuous noise and high levels of particulate matter significantly increase the risk of cardiovescular events such as a heart attack or stroke. Individual scientific papers repeatedly referred to this. A long-term study with subjects living in the Ruhr area has now shown for the first time how strong the influence of the harmful factors is. The study observed around 4,800 adults. The result: fine dust and noise increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Fine dust damages people in a special way. What is new is that the tiny particles not only damage the lungs, but also the cardiovascular system. The particles can come from natural sources or arise due to environmental pollution. In cities in particular, automobiles and industrial plants are the main sources of particulate pollution.
Noise and pollutants increase the risk of heart disease and strokes
The noise at night is particularly bad. In addition, particularly small fine dust particles up to 2.5 micrometers are also responsible for the calcification and hardening of the main artery, as cardiac specialist Prof. Dr. Hagen Kälsch said on the sidelines of a congress of the European Society of Cardiology in Rome. The current findings of the study will also be presented at the cardiology congress. "These two types of traffic loads help explain why people who live close to traffic arteries are at higher risk of vascular deposits," said the cardiologist. Accordingly, those who live on a busy road have a higher risk of premature death.
In addition to the usual risk factors such as obesity, smoking and high blood pressure, the researchers also took into account the previously unknown factors of noise and pollution. According to researcher Kälsch, "little attention has been paid to this so far".
Long-term study with 4800 older subjects
The results now presented are based on a long-term study that was carried out with a large number of subjects in the Ruhr area cities of Essen, Mülheim and Bochum for around ten years. With the data of 4800 citizens, the researchers want to use different analysis methods to achieve an improved prediction of cardiac death and heart attack. As part of the study, the scientific team evaluated the CT images of the subjects, who were an average of sixty years old, and placed them in a context of the particulate matter evaluations and noise measurements in their residential area.
In order to differentiate, "the known risk factors as well as the socio-economic data were included in the analysis". Nevertheless, it could be proven "that the road load factors independently increase the risk of atherosclerosis," says the researcher.
Atherosclerosis or also known as arterial calcification is the calcification and hardening of vessels. According to common medical opinion, the degree of calcification is considered a hazard analysis for cardiovascular events such as a stroke or heart attack. A publication of the study results is still pending.
Other studies have come to similar conclusions
Researchers from the Danish Cancer Society had already found out in a similar study in 2011 that continuous noise in older people increased the risk of stroke by 19 percent. "For every 10 decibels of noise, the risk of stroke increased by 27 percent." The louder the noise exposure, the more pronounced the likelihood of suffering a stroke. A US study (particulate matter diabetes) also found that women who lived near major roads are 20 percent more likely to develop type II diabetes. The pilot study in the Ruhr area also observed frequent diabetes cases on busy roads. (sb)
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