As a heightened sense of environmental awareness and its impact on our health continues to gain more attention, we as a nation are going to extra lengths to protect ourselves and our families from unnecessary pollutants. But what if one of your greatest threats is unknowingly impacting you every day?
Research recently released in the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Journal, may be forcing some employees to take a closer look at their profession.
According to research conducted at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, those with jobs in noisy environments may be putting their heart at serious risk.
As defined by the study’s researchers, a “noisy job” is one in which a person must raise his or her voice to be heard over the background noise frequently. It may seem obvious to some that this environment could eventually lead to hearing loss problems, but now we are realizing that there there is an even graver danger. In fact, those who work consistently in this type of environment are 2 to 3 times more likely to have a heart problem. The incidences of chest pain. high blood pressure and heart attack are much higher in these employees.
The study consisted of more than 6,000 participants and of those who reported a noisy work atmosphere, 3.6 percent reported having heart disease, while those who said their work environment was not noisy were at 2.4 percent.
The reasons for this are believed to be related to the affect stress has on the hormones produced in the body, according to the study’s author, Wenqi Gan, an environmental-health expert at the University of British Columbia. When stress, like having to yell over excessive noise or trying to concentrate in that type of environment, is imposed on the body, cortisol and adrenaline are released. These chemicals directly reduce blood flow to the heart since the blood vessels constrict as a result of the stress triggered hormones.
This stressed induced heart damage isn’t only isolated to the work place, but to other environmental noises one can hear in their own home or neighborhood frequently. Ask anyone with an abnormally noisy neighbor or an apartment complex leaf blower who starts at 6 a.m. every morning what toll this takes on their overall stress levels.
The study also shows that men over the age of 50 and those who are smokers are the most vulnerable.