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Dwelling next to Highway reduces Survival Rate after Heart Attack

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(Best Syndication News) - A study from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center found that people who survived a heart attack and lived less than 328 feet from a highway had a 27 percent increased death risk within 10 years compared to survivors that lived over 3280 feet from the major roadway. The US Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institute of Environmental Health Science funded this study.

Murray Mittleman, MD, DrPH, a physician in the CardioVascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of BIDMC's cardiovascular epidemiological research program reasons that air pollution and noise could play a role in the increased death risk.

The researchers reviewed the records of 3,547 heart attack survivors in 64 community hospitals and tertiary care medical centers. Within a 10-year period, there were 1,071 deaths. Sixty-three percent of these deaths were caused by cardiovascular disease, 12 percent died of cancer, and four percent died from respiratory disease.

The researchers looked into the factors such as personal, clinical and neighborhood-level characteristics, which included things like income and education. Those that lived near a heavily traveled highway had a 27 percent increase in death rate.

Mittleman suggests that poor people tend to live closer to highly traveled roadways putting them at greatest risk to their health. He also thought that doctors should make their patients aware of the risk of living near a highway. Additionally, city planners should take into consideration the cardiovascular health dangers of building homes next to highways that are heavily traveled.

Mittleman and a team published a study earlier this year that found air pollution even at the federally safe levels increased a person's risk of stroke by 34 percent.

By: Marsha Quinn
Health Reporter

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