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Living Near Major Roads Increase Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death In Women: Study

Update Date: Oct 14, 2014 09:14 AM EDT

Living close to a major road may increase women's risk of dying from sudden cardiac death, according to a new study. 

It's important for healthcare providers to recognize that environmental exposures may be under-appreciated risk factors for diseases such as sudden cardiac death and fatal coronary heart disease," said Jaime E. Hart, Sc.D., study lead author and an instructor in medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, in the press release. 

"On a population level, living near a major roadway was as important a risk factor as smoking, diet or obesity."

Researchers have previously found a modest increase in coronary heart disease risk among people who live near major roadways. However, the new study might be the first to examine the impact of roadway proximity to the risk of sudden cardiac death. 

The study mentioned that roadway proximity could be a marker for exposure to air pollution. 

"Regardless of where you live, adopting heart-healthy habits, such as maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, eating nutritious foods, quitting smoking, and managing stress, can help decrease your risk of heart and blood vessel disease," added Hart, who is also an instructor at the Harvard School of Public Health.

"Our next step is to try to determine what specific exposures, such as air pollution, are driving the association between heart disease and major roadway proximity."

The study has been published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation

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