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Is Stress on the Streets Driving You Into the Ground?


The driving force behind stroke and heart attacks may be linked to stress and daily pollution intake. Whether you are a driver or pedestrian on a busy road with amplified noise and an increased amount of exhaust, scientific findings suggest that your entire body is taking a beating—especially your heart.

For years, researchers have conducted studies in relation to air pollution and heart health. The latest findings might have you taking a deep breath the next time you’re stuck in traffic—with the windows closed of course.

Remember the 2008 Olympics? What a great year for up-and-coming U.S. athletes. The first photographs, however, demonstrated a concern for competing in unhealthy levels of air pollution. Cyclists arrived to Beijing wearing face masks, but should they have been using ear protection as well?

Researchers in Denmark have focused their studies primarily on the link between noise pollution and the direct correlation that it has on heart attacks. After nearly a decade, their findings confirmed the negative implications that noise pollution, in addition to other factors, had on the body.

Of the 50,000 individuals between the ages of 50 to 64 residing in Denmark’s largest cities, just over 3% experienced their first heart attack during the 10-year research term.

According to Dr. Robert Bonow, a professor of medicine at the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, “the noise itself probably does increase stress and the levels of stress hormones like adrenaline. Your blood pressure is probably going up as well.”

Cardiologists have also chimed in on the topic stating that major cities with a high volume of noise pollution could potentially increase an individual’s risk for heart attacks. Additional factors such as particles in polluted air, smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise also contribute to cardiovascular disease.

For more information about heart health and services offered to protect your heart, contact one of our doctors at the Long Island Heart Association. We are always here to help.

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