Sudden Cardiac Death: Risk Increases for Women Living Near Major Roads

Living in a major metropolitan area can be stressful at times. Morning commutes via bumper-to-bumper highways can take their toll for even the most patient and controlled among us. However, it looks like major roadways can perhaps be more detrimental to our health than merely occasional stress, especially for women.

New research published in the American Heart Association (AHA) journal “Circulation” found that living in close proximity to a major roadway might increase a woman’s risk for sudden cardiac death. Researchers found that environmental factors like a busy highway are notable risk factors just like obesity and smoking.

This idea that coronary heart disease risk could be linked to major roads has been previously studied. However, this new research explores proximity to roadways and sudden cardiac death in more depth.

The study:

Focused on more than 107,000 women who were mostly white and around the average age of 60
Found that living within 164 feet of a major roadway elevated sudden cardiac death risk by 38 percent in 523 cases of sudden cardiac death
Every 328 feet closer to roadways equate to a 6 percent increased risk for sudden cardiac death
Risk for coronary heart disease increased 24 percent in 1,159 cases

Researchers felt they could adequately link an individual’s living distance from major roadways to sudden cardiac death risk. They noted that additional studies need to be conducted on how this correlation works with various ages, races and income levels.

In 2009, 35 million people in the U.S. lived within 984 feet of a major road.

The study noted that measures can be taken to promote heart healthiness even if you live within a certain distance of a busy highway. Individuals can be mindful of their weight, exercise regularly, eat nutritious meals, quit smoking and manage their stress better to decrease blood vessel and heart disease risk.

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