Living in a noisy environment increases stroke risk

  • Wellness
  • Tuesday, 05 Nov 2019

Living in a noisy area appears to increase one’s risk of having a severe stroke. - AFP

New research has found that living in a noisy area appears to increase an individual’s risk of suffering a more severe ischaemic stroke, whereas living close to green spaces could decrease the risk.

Carried out by Spanish and American researchers, the new study looked at nearly 3,000 ischaemic stroke patients treated at Hospital del Mar in Barcelona, Spain, between 2005 and 2014, and their exposure to noise, air pollution and green areas.

The findings, published in the journal Environmental Research, showed that living in a noisy area increased the risk of suffering a severe stroke by 30%.

In contrast, the researchers found that living close to green spaces reduced the risk of a severe stroke by a quarter.

“We have observed a gradient: the more green spaces, the less serious the stroke. And the more noise, the more serious it is.

“This suggests that factors other than those traditionally associated with stroke may play an independent role in the condition,” said first author Dr Rosa María Vivanco.

The researchers noted that no link was found in their study between stroke severity and air pollution, despite a growing body of evidence linking pollution to a range of health problems.

However, they added that due to limitations in their research, it is hard to draw conclusions about how pollution may affect stroke severity and further investigation is needed.

They also pointed out that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends traffic noise limits of a maximum of 53 decibels during the day and 45 decibels at night.

“The average noise level to which patients have been exposed, as well as the general population of the study area, requires reflection, as it is considerably above the WHO recommendations,” said co-author Carla Avellaneda.

The two main types of stroke are haemorrhagic and ischaemic strokes.

Ischaemic strokes are due to the obstruction of a blood vessel in the brain and account for 80-85% of all stroke cases.

The risk of having a stroke is closely related to a variety of factors including age, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. – AFP Relaxnews

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