Living along roadways increases death risk for heart patients

Heart attack survivors living within 100 metres of major roadways face increased risk of death from all causes.

A survey of 3,547 heart attack survivors (average age 62 years) has shown that those living within 100 meters of roads have a 27 percent higher risks of dying over 10 years than those living at least 1,000 metres away.

Those living between 100 to 199 metres from roads have 19 percent increased risks of death. Those living 200 to 999 metres away have a 13 percent higher risk of death.

“We think there is exposure to a combination of air pollution near these roadways and other exposure, such as excessive noise or stress from living close to the roadway, that may contribute to the study findings,” said Murray A. Mittleman, study author and director of the Cardiovascular Research Unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston.

During the 10 years of the Onset Study, 1,071 deaths occurred: 672 people (63 percent) died of cardiovascular causes. Cancer was the cause of death for 131 people (12 percent) and respiratory disease for 45 (4 percent), the journal Circulation reports.

“People with lower levels of education and income are more likely to live in communities closer to a major roadway, so they are bearing a larger burden of the risk associated with exposure than people with more resources,” said Mittleman, also associate professor at Harvard Medical School, according to Beth Israel statement.

The findings provide new evidence that long-term exposure to roadways is tied to increased risk for death, including in patients with underlying Cardiovascular disease, said Mittleman.

more recommended stories