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Environ Res. 2010 Nov;110(8):764-72. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2010.09.001. Epub 2010 Sep 28.

Aircraft noise and incidence of hypertension--gender specific effects.

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Institute of Environmental Medicine, Unit of Environmental Epidemiology, Karolinska Institutet, Nobels väg 13, SE-17177 Stockholm, Sweden.


Recent studies show associations between aircraft noise and cardiovascular outcomes such as hypertension. However, these studies were mostly cross-sectional and there are uncertainties regarding potential gender differences as well as sensitive subgroups. In this study, we investigated the cumulative incidence of hypertension in relation to aircraft noise exposure among Swedish men and women living in Stockholm County. A total of 4721 subjects, aged 35-56 at baseline, were followed for 8-10 years. The population was selected according to family history of diabetes, which was present for half of the subjects. The exposure assessment was performed by geographical information systems and based on residential history during the period of follow-up. Blood pressure was measured at baseline and at the end of follow-up. Additional information regarding diagnosis and treatment of hypertension as well as various lifestyle factors was provided by questionnaires. In the overall population, no increased risk for hypertension was found among subjects exposed to aircraft noise ≥ 50 dB(A) L(den); relative risk (RR) 1.02 (95% CI 0.90-1.15). When restricting the cohort to those not using tobacco at the blood pressure measurements, a significant risk increase per 5 dB(A) of aircraft noise exposure was found in men; RR 1.21 (1.05-1.39), but not in women; RR 0.97 (0.83-1.13). In both sexes combined, an increased risk of hypertension related to aircraft noise exposure was indicated primarily among those reporting annoyance to aircraft noise; RR 1.42 (1.11-1.82). No consistent effect modification was detected for any of the cardiovascular risk factors under investigation although a family history of diabetes appeared to modify the risk in women. In conclusion, the results suggest an increased risk of hypertension following long-term aircraft noise exposure in men, and that subjects annoyed by aircraft noise may be particularly sensitive to noise related hypertension.

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