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Sudden Cardiac Death a Risk for Women Living Near Major Roads

May be as big a factor as smoking, obesity, and poor eating habits, research suggests

TUESDAY, Oct. 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Women who live near major roads may be at increased risk for sudden cardiac death, according to a new study published online Oct. 13 in Circulation.

Researchers analyzed data from 107,130 American women, average age 60, who took part in the Nurses' Health Study from 1986 to 2012. Sudden cardiac death occurred in 523 of the women.

The risk of sudden cardiac death was 38 percent higher among women who lived within 50 meters (164 feet) of a major road than among those who lived at least 500 meters (0.3 miles) from a major road. Each 100 meters (328 feet) closer to a major road was linked to a 6 percent increase in the risk of sudden cardiac death.

Living close to a major road is as important a risk factor for sudden cardiac death as smoking, obesity, and poor eating habits, study author Jaime Hart, Sc.D., an instructor in medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, said in a journal news release. "It's important for health care providers to recognize that environmental exposures may be under-appreciated risk factors for diseases such as sudden cardiac death and fatal coronary heart disease."

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