Living Near an Airport Puts Your Heart at Risk: Studies

Wednesday, 09 Oct 2013 07:31 AM

By Nick Tate

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Living near a noisy airport may not only keep you up at night. New research has linked exposure to high levels of aircraft nose to a market increase in heart disease.
 
In two studies published in the British Medical Journal, residents living near London Heathrow and 89 North American airports were more far more likely to be admitted to the hospital for cardiovascular diseases than the general population.
 
The findings have significant implications for planners when extending airports in heavily populated areas or planning new airports, the researchers said.
 
"How best to meet commercial aircraft capacity for London and other major cities is a matter of active debate," they concluded. "However, policy decisions need to take account of potential health related concerns, including possible effects of environmental noise on cardiovascular health."

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Past studies have linked aircraft noise to hypertension, but the new studies are among the first to track cardio risks.
 
For the first study, researchers based in London tracked stroke and heart disease in relation to aircraft noise among 3.6 million residents living near London Heathrow, one of the busiest airports in the world, between 2001 and 2005. The results showed increased risks of stroke, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease for both hospital admissions and mortality, especially among the 2 percent of the study population exposed to the highest levels of daytime and night time aircraft noise.
 
For the second study, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and Boston University School of Public Health tracked the medical records of more than six million Medicare recipients living near 89 US airports in 2009.
 
The researchers found that, on average, zip codes with high levels of aircraft noise had a 3.5 percent higher cardiovascular hospital admission rate. Residents exposed to the highest noise levels had the greatest risk for cardiovascular disease hospitalizations.

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