People living near noisy roads are at greater risk of developing high blood pressure, a Swedish study suggests.
A Lund University team found risk rose above an average daily exposure of 60 decibels, which accounts for about one in four people in western Europe. They said it was likely noise caused stress - and maybe sleep disruption - leading to blood pressure problems. But UK experts questioned the findings, saying other factors such as diet and smoking were more important.
Researchers analysed questionnaires completed by nearly 28,000 people as well as analysing neighbourhood traffic noise.
They found that at above 60 decibels the risk of high blood pressure rose by more than 25%. Above 64 decibels the risk rose by more than 90% although the team cautioned that the low numbers in this group could have skewed the findings.
The report, published in the Environmental Health journal, said the findings were worrying as high blood pressure increased the chances of heart disease and stroke.