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Cardiovascular risk from noise and air pollution

Published on 22/05/2013

Fine-particle air and noise pollution could increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, according to a large population study in Germany.

Living near a main road may be unhealthy

Both factors were analysed simultaneously as previous studies have been dismissed for investigating either noise or air pollution but not both.

The study, which was presented at the American Thoracic Society conference 2013, found that close proximity to road traffic was linked to the hardening of the aorta.

Barbara Hoffman, study author and professor at the IUF Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine in Germany, said: "This study looked at both at the same time and found that each form of pollution was independently associated with subclinical atherosclerosis.”

Atherosclerosis is caused by calcium, fat and cholesterol building up on the aorta walls and can impair blood flow around the body.

Older people are more at risk from aorta hardening, also known as calcification of the thoracic aorta, which is a sign of heart valve disease.

Both air and noise pollution contributed to the increase in developing calcification following an analysis of 4,238 participants with an average age of 60 and an even gender ratio.

Other cardiovascular risk factors such as age, gender, smoking and alcohol intakes, physical activity and obesity were all considered when the findings were analysed.

Dr Philip Harber, a professor at the University of Arizona, was not involved in the study but believes that it has more credibility by examining both factors.

Harber said: “This study is important because it says that both air pollution and noise pollution represent important health problems.

“In the past, some air pollution studies have been dismissed because critics said it was probably the noise pollution that caused the harm, and vice versa. Now we know that people who live near highways, for instance, are being harmed by air and noise pollution."

Private medical insurance policies can be tailored depending on what you want to be covered. If you are concerned about cardiovascular disease look for a policy that has comprehensive heart cover.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2013

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