People who are exposed to night-time noise of planes taking off and landing on a long-term basis are at risk of developing high blood pressure, according to a recent research.

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Researchers used data from 780 people living near Athens International Airport, where up to 600 planes take off and land every day, to carry out the study.

This information included estimated aircraft and traffic noise for their postcodes – between 2004 and 2006.

45% of the participants were exposed to more than 55 decibels (dB) of aircraft noise during the day, while just over 1 in 4 were exposed to more than 45 dB of night-time aircraft noise.

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Only just over 1 in 10 were exposed to significant road traffic noise of more than 55 dB.

In 2013, the researchers investigated what had happened to the participants. Of those still living in the area, 420 respondents agreed to participate in the follow-up research.

71 people had been diagnosed with high blood pressure between 2004-6 and 2013; 44 had been diagnosed with heart flutter, also known as cardiac arrhythmia and 18 had experienced a heart attack.

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Researchers report that exposure to aircraft noise, particularly at night between the hours of 11pm and 7am, was associated with all the new cases of high blood pressure as well as the 194 individuals who already had high blood pressure when the original fieldwork was carried out.

Also, when all cases of high blood pressure were included, every additional 10 dB of night-time aircraft noise could be linked to a 69% higher risk of the condition.

Among new cases of high blood pressure, every additional 10 dB was associated with more than a doubling of risk, the researchers say.

The study was published in the journal, Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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