Noise Pollution Can Increase The Risk And Severity Of Stroke

Kansas City Chiefs fans hold the record for the loudest racket ever made in an outdoor stadium: an ear-splitting, heart-stopping 142.2 decibels, which was recorded at Arrowhead Stadium during a Monday Night Football game in 2014. Although the Chiefs won 41-14 over the Patriots, that stroke of good luck could have caused a disaster for vulnerable fans.

Noise can kill. That's the conclusion of researchers who found that folks who live in noisy environments are more likely to suffer an ischemic stroke and are prone to have more severe strokes as well, although they're not yet certain why that is. Ischemic strokes result from a blockage in an artery that supplies blood to the brain, and account for 70% to 80% of all strokes.

Unfortunately, noise is hard to escape. One study in Environmental Health Perspectives estimated that 104 million Americans are continuously exposed to damaging levels of noise pollution. So if you live near air, rail or road traffic, you are likely to regularly experience 70 to 80 decibels of noise, even though the World Health Organization recommends that your exposure to traffic (or any) noise stay below 53 decibels during the day and 45 decibels at night.

Here's what you can do to reduce the sound assault:

- Hang soundproof curtains - especially on bedroom windows. Install soundproof windows.

- Cover floors with rugs and/or carpeting.

- Use earplugs or noise-canceling headphones in noisy workplaces or while sleeping. You can take the headphones to Arrowhead stadium, too!

© 2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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