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Road traffic noise linked to high blood pressure, study says

Living near noisy road traffic is linked to hypertension, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
People wait to drive through the Holland Tunnel into New York City.
Posted at 11:29 AM, Mar 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-27 13:00:09-04

Noisy road traffic appears to be impacting people's health. 

According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, exposure to road traffic noise may elevate a person's risk for developing hypertension.

The study looked at data from 240,000 people ages 40 to 69. None of them had high blood pressure when the study began. Researchers followed up with them over about an eight-year period to see how many developed hypertension. 

"Long-term exposure to road traffic noise was associated with increased incidence of primary hypertension," the study notes.

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However, the study's authors note that traffic noise wasn't the only link to hypertension. They observed that people experiencing hypertension were also exposed to higher levels of air pollution.

“Road traffic noise and traffic-related air pollution coexist around us … It is essential to explore the independent effects of road traffic noise, rather than the total environment," Jing Huang, lead author of the study, said. 

The study's authors note that road noise and pollution can be addressed. 

They recommend, among other things, that policymakers set stricter noise ordinances and invest in new technologies to create quieter vehicles.

Hypertension is a major problem in the U.S., affecting tens of millions of Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it can lead to heart disease and stroke, which are two leading causes of death for Americans.

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