Residential exposure to aircraft noise linked to hypertension

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NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Living under an airport flight path appears to be a risk factor for hypertension, Swedish researchers report in the December issue of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Last Updated: 2001-12-25 13:00:48 EST (Reuters Health)

Dr. Mats Rosenlund of the Department of Environmental Health in Stockholm and colleagues compared 266 people aged 19 to 80 who lived near the Stockholm Arlanda Airport with 2,693 other Stockholm residents who lived far from the airport. All participants provided information on a variety of lifestyle habits, such as diet, exercise and smoking, and blood pressure history.

Dr. Rosenlund and colleagues found that people exposed to average aircraft noise levels of 55 decibels or higher were 60% more likely to have received a diagnosis of hypertension. Those with exposures exceeding 72 decibels were 80% more likely to have been diagnosed with hypertension.

"There is suggestive evidence for an association between prevalence of hypertension and aircraft noise," Dr. Sam Pattenden, an environmental epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, writes in an accompanying editorial. However, the editorialist adds, "a larger and statistically more rigorous study is needed."

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