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Car horns, sirens bad for the heart



Car horns, sirens bad for the heart

Many often overlook the blaring horn of motorists, the rumble of airplanes as they navigate the airspace and the shrill scream from the siren of speeding emergency vehicles, scientists have, however, affirmed that such loud noises have a notable effect on cardiovascular health.


According to findings of a review paper published this week in the ‘Journal of the American College of Cardiology,’ noise pollution arising from car horns, the roar of a jet plane and sirens of emergency vehicles, may increase the risk of heart disease, such as coronary artery disease, hypertension and heart failure. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) refers to a class of diseases that involve the heart and/or blood vessels (e.g. arteries).

The main types of CVD are coronary artery disease, stroke and heart failure/ cardiomyopathy, but less common forms include rheumatic and congenital heart disease.


CVDs are the number one cause of death globally as more people die annually from CVDs than from any other cause. In an attempt to shed some light on how noise could impact cardiovascular disease, researchers from Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany, compiled and analysed findings from dozens of previous studies on noise and various health outcomes.


Based on the existing evidence, the new review suggested that noise disrupts the body on the cellular level. Specifically, researchers stated that such noise induces stress responses and activates the sympathetic ‘fight or flight’ nervous system.


“This causes a spike in stress hormones, which can eventually lead to vascular damage,” the ‘The Washington Post’ reported. The researchers said: “Loud sounds not only disrupt sleep, which can lead to health problems, but can also ignite the stress response, releasing a rush of hormones that over time can damage the heart.”

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