Do noise and air pollution impact cardiovascular disease risk?
Written by Timothy Huzar on November 17, 2020 — Fact checked by Catherine Carver, MPH
A new opinion article argues that reducing air and noise pollution is crucial in minimizing cardiovascular-related deaths.
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In the piece, an international team of experts argues that there is clear evidence linking air and noise pollution to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
The article, published in the European Heart Journal, identifies a number of strategies that may help reduce the effects that air and noise pollution can have on cardiovascular health.
Cardiovascular health and pollution
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 17.9 million people die of cardiovascular disease globally each year. This makes it the leading worldwide cause of mortality.
The WHO define cardiovascular disease as an umbrella term for a collection of disorders that affect a person’s heart and blood vessels. Four out of every five deaths due to cardiovascular disease occur because of a heart attack or stroke.
Research has shown that genetics can make a person more susceptible to cardiovascular disease. However, environmental factors — which a person may be able to act on — also play an important role.
According to the WHO, key environmental drivers of cardiovascular disease include an unhealthy diet, low levels of physical activity, smoking, and an excessive consumption of alcohol.
More recently, however, scientists have conducted research that seems to indicate a link between environmental pollutants and cardiovascular disease. These include both air and noise pollutants.
In the present article, the authors argue that attending to these forms of pollution is important for reducing cardiovascular disease mortality.