Heart Attacks Are Linked To Living Near Highways

According to the American Heart Association Journal Circulation, living near a major highway can increase a woman’s risk of cardiac failure.

“It’s important for healthcare providers to recognize that environmental exposures may be under-appreciated risk factors for diseases such as sudden cardiac death and fatal coronary heart disease,” said Jaime E. Hart, Sc.D., study lead author and an instructor in medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. “On a population level, living near a major roadway was as important a risk factor as smoking, diet or obesity.”

While previous research has found a slight increase in the risk of coronary heart disease among people who live near major highways, the new study may be the first to investigate the impact of roadway proximity on the risk of sudden cardiac death.

According to the researchers, roadway proximity could be a predictor of air pollution exposure.

The researchers examined data from 107,130 women (mostly white, average age 60) who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study between 1986 and 2012. Researchers discovered the following after calculating the residential distance to roadways and adjusting for a plethora of other factors such as age, race, calendar time, cigarette smoking, physical activity, and diet:

Living within 50 meters (164 feet) of a major road increased the risk of sudden cardiac death by 38% in 523 cases, compared to living at least 500 meters (.3 miles) away.

Each 100 meters (328 feet) closer to a road was associated with a 6% increase in the risk of sudden cardiac death.

The risk of fatal coronary heart disease increased by 24% in the 1,159 cases studied.

According to the researchers, the public’s exposure to major roadways is comparable to major risk factors for sudden cardiac death.

Researchers were unable to assess all potential risk factors associated with living near a major highway. They also stated that more research with men and women of different ages, races, and income levels is required, as nearly all participants were middle-aged to elderly, white, and of middle-to upper-socioeconomic class.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 35 million people in the United States lived within 300 meters (984 feet) of a major road in 2009, with a growing number living in close proximity to major roads worldwide.

“Regardless of where you live, adopting heart-healthy habits, such as maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, eating nutritious foods, quitting smoking and managing stress, can help decrease your risk of heart and blood vessel disease,” said Hart, an instructor at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Every year, nearly 350,000 people die as a result of sudden cardiac death. Life insurance will pay out if you die as a result of a cardiac arrest. Accidental death insurance, on the other hand, only comes into play in the event of an accident.

So, if the cardiac arrest was caused by an accident, your accidental death insurance will pay out. You can add an accidental benefit rider to your regular life insurance policy to pay extra if you are killed in an accident.

Keep in mind that life insurance pays for all causes of death, with the possible exception of suicide during the first two years of the policy’s contestability period.

Accidental death insurance frequently excludes high-risk activities and varies greatly from policy to policy. In most cases, you are better off investing this money in a comprehensive and financially sound life insurance policy.

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