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Noise Pollution and Air Pollution Both Have Negative Effects on Heart Health: Study

A new study shows that noise pollution is right up there with air pollution in producing negative effects on your heart, CTV News reports. Looking at data from 144,000 adults, researchers found that noise louder than conversation level affects people living near busy roads and under flight paths, and those exposed to industrial machinery. Both higher noise pollution and air pollution also showed higher blood sugar levels.

Interestingly, other studies have already noted that just a 5-decibel noise reduction can reduce the prevalence of high blood pressure by 1.4 percent and coronary heart disease by 1.8 percent, with an annual economic benefit of nearly $4 billion in health care savings. Unfortunately, though, noise pollution is still an often-overlooked source of environmental stress that can raise your risk of serious health conditions, including heart disease.

When you add in air pollution — a major contributor to lung and respiratory infections, heart disease, and cancer — it becomes evident that we really need to take proactive measures to protect ourselves from both. For example, in one Brazilian city, improvements in waste recycling, public transport, and pedestrian walkways has led to lower air pollution, making life expectance two years longer than the national average.

Some common-sense precautions include limiting outdoor exercise during peak commuting hours; not running or riding your bike along major highways; and using a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter on your furnace and/or air conditioning unit. Alternatively, use a stand-alone unit. Houseplants can also markedly improve the air indoors. For tips and guidelines, see my previous article The 10 Best Pollution-Busting Houseplants.
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