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Airplane Noise Boosts Blood Pressure Even During Sleep
Date:2/12/2008

More must be done to help people living near major flight hubs, researchers say

TUESDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) -- People who live near major airports may be disturbed by the din of aircraft flying overhead all day, but a new study finds it can also boost their blood pressure even while they're sleeping.

In fact, the louder the noise, the higher blood pressure will go, the study found. That finding holds whether the noise comes from airplanes, passing traffic or other sources, according to the report in the February issue of the European Heart Journal.

"We know that noise from air traffic can be a source of irritation, but our research shows that it can also be damaging for people's health, which is particularly significant in light of plans to expand international airports," co-author Dr. Lars Jarup, from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at Imperial College London, said in a prepared statement.

"Nighttime aircraft noise can affect your blood pressure instantly and increase the risk of hypertension. It is clear to me that measures need to be taken to reduce noise levels from aircraft, in particular during nighttime, in order to protect the health of people living near airports," Jarup said.

In the study, the British team studied 140 people who lived near London's Heathrow Airport, as well as airports in Athens, Milan and Stockholm.

While the volunteers slept, the researchers remotely measured their blood pressure every 15 minutes. They also analyzed the noise level in the participant's bedrooms.

Jarup's group found a noticeable increase in blood pressure when noise levels grew louder than 35 decibels. That amount of increased noise can occur as an airplane flies overhead, from traffic noise, or even from someone snoring nearby. The increase in blood pressure was apparent even when the participant stayed asleep, the researchers found.

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