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Noisy work linked to heart problems

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People who work in noisy environments can be at twice the risk of developing serious heart disease, new research has claimed.

A team from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver found that people exposed to long-term workplace noise - levels which make it difficult to hold a conversation - were two to three times more likely to have heart problems than those in quieter places of employment.

The research, published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, concluded that stress levels could be higher in noisy workplaces, putting pressure on the heart. Young male smokers and under-50s were found to be particularly susceptible.

Scientists looked at data collected from 6,300 people in the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and found most workers in noisy workplaces 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.

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.

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