Morning Rounds: Airport noise linked to risk of major illness

(CBS News) Two new studies, one from Boston and the other from London, found loud noise at airports is linked to higher rates of heart disease and stroke.

Airplane noise linked to heart health woes

The London study focused on 3.6 million people living near Heathrow airport, one of the busiest airports in the world. They found increased risks of stroke, coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease for both hospital admissions and mortality. It was especially high among the 2 percent of the study's population that experienced the most daytime and nighttime aircraft noise.

Researchers in the study from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Boston University School of Public Health found that, on average, zip codes with 10-decibel higher aircraft noise had a 3.5 percent higher cardiovascular hospital admission rate.

"CBS This Morning" contributor and Professor of Medicine at USC, Dr. David Agus, told the "CBS This Morning" co-hosts that it's not just the noise from an airport that can have these negative health impacts.

"Whenever you have noise, it increases the stress in your body and it raises stuff like cortisol. We knew it was linked to high blood pressure, now we show it's actually linked to heart disease and in one of the studies, death," he said. "Noise in this study was seen near an airport but it could mean living in a major city in a building or your child being in a band."

Agus said that there are two key ways to deter the impact of living in a noisy environment.

The first is to learn how to deal with stress and have an outlet to deal with it such as exercise or meditation.

However, it's also important to communicate with your doctor about what your living situation is so that they can best care for you.

"When you go to your doctor, they used to test your cholesterol as a risk for heart disease and ask you your weight and what you ate. Now they're going to say, 'where do you live?' And if they don't say it, I want patients to go to their doctor and say, 'listen, I live in a very stressful environment' and the doctor needs to take that into account when they look at preventative measures. It's very important we look at the patient as a whole," said Agus.

For Dr. David Agus' full interview, watch the video in the player above.

  • Shoshana Davis

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