New York: Living close to a major road may increase the risk of women dying from sudden cardiac arrest, a research showed.
While researchers previously found a modest increase in coronary heart disease risk among people who live near major roadways, the new study may be the first to examine the impact of roadway proximity to the risk of sudden cardiac death.
Roadway proximity could be a marker for exposure to air pollution, the findings noted.
"It is important for health care providers to recognise that environmental exposures may be under appreciated risk factors for diseases such as sudden cardiac death and fatal coronary heart disease," said study lead author Jaime Hart from the Harvard Medical School Boston, Massachusetts in the US.
"On a population level, living near a major roadway was as important a risk factor as smoking, diet or obesity," Hart added.
The researchers studied data from 107,130 women (average age 60) who were part of the Nurses' Health Study from 1986-2012.
In 523 cases of sudden cardiac death, living within 50 metres of a major road increased the risk of sudden cardiac death by 38 percent, compared to living at least 500 metres away, the findings showed.
Each 100 metres closer to roadways was associated with a six percent increased risk for sudden cardiac death.
In the 1,159 cases of fatal coronary heart disease, risk increased by 24 percent.
"Regardless of where you live, adopting heart healthy habits, such as maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, eating nutritious food, quitting smoking, and managing stress, can help decrease your risk of heart and blood vessel disease," Hart pointed out.
The study appeared in the journal Circulation.