Community Noise Exposure and its Effect on Blood Pressure and Renal Function in Patients with Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease

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Background: Road traffic noise (RTN) is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and hypertension; however, few studies have looked into its association with blood pressure (BP) and renal function in patients with prior CVD.

Aim: This study aimed to explore the effect of residential RTN exposure on BP and renal function in patients with CVD from Plovdiv Province.

Materials and methods: We included 217 patients with ischemic heart disease and/or hypertension from three tertiary hospitals in the city of Plovdiv (March – May 2016). Patients’ medical history, medical documentation, and medication regimen were reviewed, and blood pressure and anthropometric measurements were taken. Blood samples were analyzed for creatinine, total cholesterol, and blood glucose. Participants also filled a questionnaire. Glomerular filtration rate was estimated using the Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration (CKD-EPI) equation. All participants were asked about their annoyance by different noise sources at home, and those living in the city of Plovdiv (n = 132) were assigned noise map Lden and Lnight exposure. The effects of noise exposure on systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) were explored using mixed linear models.

Results: Traffic noise annoyance was associated with higher SBP in the total sample. The other noise indicators were associated with non-significant elevation in SBP and reduction in eGFR. The effect of Lden was more pronounced in patients with prior ischemic heart disease/stroke, diabetes, obesity, not taking Ca-channel blockers, and using solid fuel/gas at home. Lnight had stronger effect among those not taking statins, sleeping in a bedroom with noisy façade, having a living room with quiet façade, and spending more time at home. The increase in Lden was associated with a significant decrease in eGFR among men, patients with ischemic heart disease/stroke, and those exposed to lower air pollution. Regarding Lnight, there was significant effect modification by gender, diabetes, obesity, and time spent at home. In some subgroups, the effect of RTN was statistically significant.

Conclusions: Given that generic risk factors for poor progression of cardiovascular diseases cannot be controlled sufficiently at individual level, environmental interventions to reduce residential noise exposure might result in some improvement in the management of blood pressure and kidney function in patients with CVD.

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