Do you face a tough daily ride to work, spend hours stuck in a traffic jam? If so, your health could be in danger according to a German medical study which lends new meaning to the concept of a "killer commute."
Warning: bumper to bumper could be bad for your health
German researchers have concluded that people caught in traffic jams are three times more likely to suffer a heart attack an hour later than those who aren't tied up on the road. A study of hundreds of heart attacks in the southern German town of Augsburg published in the New England Journal of Medicine found nearly one in 12 myocardial infarctions were linked to traffic.
Rush hour traffic -- a health risk?
After examining 690 cases of heart attack victims, who survived at least 24 hours after the onset of the attack and were able to provide data about the activities leading up to the first signs of heart failure, the team of medical researchers were able to draw a connection between the exposure to traffic and the start of a myocardial infarction within one hour afterward.
They concluded that the time an individual spends in cars, on public transportation, on motorcycles or bicycles was consistently linked with an increase in the risk of heart attack.
"Transient exposure to traffic may increase the risk of myocardial infarction in susceptible persons," the researchers reported.