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If you live near a noisy highway or anywhere close to traffic sounds, you may be at increased risk of high blood pressure. That’s the conclusion of a new study from Sweden, which found that adults who live near the noisiest roads were much more likely to report high blood pressure than individuals who live in quieter surroundings. (For the record, the highest average traffic noise level was 64 decibels, compared to 60 decibels during normal conversation).
More than 24,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 80 participated in the study. Interestingly, those younger than 40 who lived near noisy roads were about twice as likely to report high blood pressure than those whose home environments were quieter (although overall there was less high blood pressure in this age group than among those between the ages of 40 to 59).
Adults over 59 didn’t seem to be affected by noise, perhaps because they had other overshadowing risks for high blood pressure, the investigators suggested. This new investigation supports earlier research demonstrating that living near airports or working in noisy environments raises the risks of high blood pressure and heart attack.