Workplace Noise Exposure Linked to Heart Conditions

Association particularly strong for men, those under age 50, and smokers
By Jeff Muise
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Oct. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Chronic exposure to workplace noise is associated with substantially increased risk for angina pectoris, myocardial infarction (MI), coronary heart disease (CHD), and isolated diastolic hypertension, according to research published online Oct. 5 in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Wen Qi Gan, M.D., of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and colleagues analyzed data provided by 6,307 participants in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999 to 2004. The researchers correlated the participants' reports of exposure to workplace noise to the prevalence of angina, MI, CHD, and hypertension.

Compared to those never exposed to workplace noise, the researchers found that the subjects who were chronically exposed had substantially higher risk for angina pectoris, MI, CHD, and isolated diastolic hypertension (adjusted odds ratios: 2.91 for angina, 1.59 for MI, 2.04 for CHD, and 2.23 for hypertension), though the increased risk for MI was not statistically significant. The researchers noted definite exposure-response relationships. The associations of noise exposure with angina pectoris, MI, and CHD were particularly strong for subjects under age 50, men, and current smokers.

"Chronic exposure to occupational noise is strongly associated with prevalence of CHD, especially for young male current smokers. This study suggests that excess noise exposure in the workplace is an important occupational health issue and deserves special attention," the authors write.

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