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Living in a noisy environment can raise your risk of a serious stroke, study finds

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Barcelona, Spain — Do you live in a noisy neighborhood or city? If so, you may be 30% more likely to suffer a more serious stroke, results of a recent study out of Spain show.

Researchers from the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute, the Barcelona Institute for Global Health and Brown University studied nearly 2,800 ischemic stroke patients treated between 2005 and 2014 at Barcelona’s Hospital del Mar. To examine the effects of noise levels, air pollution and exposure to green areas, they looked at a noise map of the city and a gradient to identify patients who lived in noisier or quieter areas, models that analyze pollutant levels, and satellite images to determine green spaces near residences, respectively.

Results showed that high levels of environmental noise can “increase both the severity and consequences of an ischemic stroke,” increasing the risk “by 30% for people living in noisier areas,” a research institute press release states. Conversely, the patients who lived “close to green areas” had a 25% decrease in stroke severity. The researchers found no link to atmospheric pollution levels.

“The more green spaces, the less serious the stroke,” lead study author Rosa María Vivanco said in the release. “And the more noise, the more serious it is. This suggests that factors other than those traditionally associated with stroke may play an independent role in the condition.”

Ischemic stroke involves an obstructed blood vessel in the brain and accounts for 80% to 85% of all cases, the release adds. Risk factors include age, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, diabetes and a sedentary lifestyle.

The study was published in the December edition of the journal Environmental Research.

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