Traffic noise can kill you

Over the last decade, researchers have linked the noise of airports and road traffic to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death. Apparently the noise triggers a stress response in the brain that triggers the release of adrenaline and cortisol, increases blood pressure, and inflames the endothelium, the lining of blood, heart, and lymphatic vessels. From The Atlantic:

This dysfunctional endothelium meddles with blood flow and affects numerous other processes that, when impaired, contribute to a range of cardiovascular illnesses, including high blood pressure, plaque buildup in arteries, obesity, and diabetes.

Studies on people and mice show that the endothelium doesn't work as efficiently after just a few days of nighttime airplane-noise exposure, suggesting that loud noise isn't a concern only for people already at risk for heart and metabolic problems. Healthy adults subjected to recordings of trains during their slumber had impaired blood-vessel function almost immediately, according to a 2019 study published by [University Medical Center of Mainz cardiologist Thomas] Münzel and his colleagues in Basic Research in Cardiology.

"We were surprised that young people, after hearing these sounds for just one night, had endothelial dysfunction," says Münzel, coauthor of an overview on noise and cardiovascular health in the 2020 Annual Review of Public Health. "We always thought this was something that takes years to develop."

image: Faris knight (CC BY-SA 4.0)