15/10/2010

Noisy workplaces 'raise heart risk'

Workplace noise could potentially pose serious health problems for employees,
experts warn after a study found it can more than double the risk of heart
disease.

Long-term exposure to noisy environments, of the kind where people find it
difficult to make themselves heard, raise stress levels - which can be
unhealthy for the heart, researchers said.

Their findings showed the chances of developing heart conditions are two to
three times higher for employees regularly exposed to noisy workplaces than
those in quieter environments. Among young male smokers and in those under 50
this link is especially strong, the researchers said.

A team, led by scientists at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver,
analysed medical records and data relating to lifestyle and work from 6,300
employees taking part in the US National Health and Nutrition Examination
Survey.

Experts compared results from those working in noisy places with people who
enjoyed a quieter working environment.

Just over a fifth (21%) of workers were exposed to a very noisy place.

Most (83%) of these were men with an average age of 40 and they tended to be
heavier and smoke more, both of which increase the risk of heart disease.

However, blood tests showed they did not have particularly high levels of
cholesterol or inflammatory proteins, but did have higher diastolic blood
pressure, which measures the pressure of the artery walls when the heart
relaxes between heartbeats.

In their paper published in the journal Occupational and Environmental
Medicine, the authors, concluded: "This study suggests that excess noise
exposure in the workplace is an important occupational health issue and
deserves special attention."

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AplusA-online.de - Source: Occupational and Environmental Medicine