Bad news for hypertensives living in busy cities. A study that saw the collaboration of the University of Peking with that of Oxford has shown that traffic noise raises blood pressure. The results did not surprise the scientific world. It has long been known that there is a link between noisy road traffic and an increased risk of hypertension. What we didn’t know is if it was only air pollution to blame or even noise. This research shows that it is exposure to road traffic noise that plays a crucial role in increasing the risk of hypertension. The results of the study were published in the scientific journal JACC: Advances.
Noise or smog? What is the most important risk factor?
The researchers therefore wanted to understand if it was the smog itself that represented a risk factor or if instead the finger should be pointed at the noise produced by the vehicles. To answer this question, they used information from the UK Biobank. In this database we find information on the health of hundreds of thousands of British citizens.
Traffic noise increases risk of high blood pressure: Anglo-Chinese research
The working group thus analyzed the data of over 240,000 people aged between 40 and 69 years. At the start of the study, none had hypertension. Experts have used a classic tool to assess road traffic noise which is called Common Noise Assessment Method.
The scientists observed the participants for more than 8 years. The main data is who had developed hypertension. The results seem to leave no room for doubt. Among those who lived in a high-traffic area, the likelihood of becoming hypertensive increased. But there’s more. Blood pressure values increased as the amount of noise increased. However, air quality remains a risk factor. The combination of exposure to both noise and smog is the most serious risk factor.