The negative impact of air pollution on respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) and asthma and cardiovascular disease is well established by epidemiological studies. Now, new data show that air pollution also may contribute to obstructive sleep apnea.
In a study recently published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, investigators report on the effects of ambient air pollution on obstructive sleep apnea and sleep disruption (Ann Am Thorac Soc. Published online December 20, 2018; doi: 10.1513/AnnalsATS.201804-248OC). In particular, the investigators looked at the link between mean annual and five-year exposure levels to fine particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and obstructive sleep apnea.
Investigators analyzed data from a sample of participants (n=1974) enrolled in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) and MESA’s Sleep and Air Pollution studies. Of the 1974 participants, 46% were male, 36% White, 28% Black, 28% Hispanic, and 12% Asian, with a mean age of 68.4 years and mean BMI of 28.7 kg/m2. Among the participants, 48% had sleep apnea and 25% had reduced sleep efficiency.