Ask Dr. Nandi: Why loud noises are bad for your heart

(WXYZ) - If you’re anything like me, you’re bothered by very loud noises. Cars honking, planes roaring overhead, the sound of a jackhammer, they all seem to stress me out.

According to some new research, loud noises might not just be annoying but they’re also bad for your heart.

They increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and even heart failure.

Why are they so bad for us? Well for one, they can disrupt sleep. This leads to all sorts of health problems like high cholesterol as well as increased blood pressure and heart rate.

These, in turn, can lead to heart disease and stroke.

But loud noises also help to ignite the body's stress response. Too much stress can cause hormones to rush into the heart, and this creates damage over time.

So too many decibels can be unhealthy in more ways than one. 

Experts aren’t exactly sure how long you have to be exposed to loud sounds for them to be harmful. But they surmise that it takes years and years rather than days.

And it’s really the stuff that you hear when you’re not expecting it that’s the worst. When your heart jumps from a scare, that’s probably not the healthiest thing in the world. 

So how can we deal with the roar of the modern world? Here are my prescriptions:

  1. Use a fan or a noise machine when you sleep to drown out loud sounds. 
  2. Keep a pair of earplugs handy for the times you’re in a city or some other place where you’re likely to be startled by unfamiliar noises. 
  3. Protect your children from extended exposure to noise pollution since it’s known to cause depression and anxiety issues in kids.
  4. Write to your local representatives about lowering decibel-level thresholds if you live in a very loud area.

With a little effort, you can make your life a little less noisy, which could really improve your health and well being.

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