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Aircraft Noise Vital to Elder's Heart Health

Update Date: Oct 09, 2013 11:44 AM EDT
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The elderly might have to think twice before choosing where they want to live in regards to reducing their risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.  

A new study says older people who are exposed to aircraft noise due to specifically living close to an airport can increase their chances of having heart problems. 

"In speculating about how aircraft noise might be linked to higher rates of cardiovascular hospitalizations among older people, the researchers noted that noise has been previously linked with stress reactions and increased blood pressure, both of which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease," said The Harvard School of Public Health in a news release.

To perform their study researchers evaluated the correlation between noise from 89 U.S. airports and cardiovascular-related hospitalizations from 6 million participants used in date from Medicare, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Census in 2009. 

According to senior author Francesca Dominici, professor of biostatistics and associate dean of information technology at HSPH, "the results showed that the highest levels of aircraft noise had the strongest association with cardiovascular disease hospitalizations. Overall, 2.3% of hospitalizations for cardiovascular disease among older people living near airports were attributable to aircraft noise."

Rating number one in death globally in 2008, cardiovascular diseases has caused the death of 17.3 million said HSPH.

Co-author Jonathan Levy, professor of environmental health at BUSPH and adjunct professor of environmental health at HSPH informs us that steps to improve the reduction of these high risks could be the solution to an ongoing problem. 

"This can be done through improved aircraft technology and optimized flight paths, by using runways strategically to avoid when possible residential areas when people are sleeping, and by soundproofing of homes and other buildings," said Levy. 

The findings are published in the British Medical Journal.

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