Background: Exposure to air pollution may be a risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) because air pollution may alter body water distribution and aggravate OSA manifestations. Objectives: This study aimed to investigate the mediating effects of air pollution on the exacerbation of OSA severity through body water distribution. Methods: This retrospective study analyzed body composition and polysomnographic data collected from a sleep center in Northern Taiwan. Air pollution exposure was estimated using an adjusted nearest method, registered residential addresses, and data from the databases of government air quality motioning stations. Next, regression models were employed to determine the associations between estimated air pollution exposure levels (exposure for 1, 3, 6, and 12 months), OSA manifestations (sleep-disordered breathing indices and respiratory event duration), and body fluid parameters (total body water and body water distribution). The association between air pollution and OSA risk was determined. Results: Significant associations between OSA manifestations and short-term (1 month) exposure to PM2.5 and PM10 were identified. Similarly, significant associations were identified among total body water and body water distribution (intracellular-to-extracellular body water distribution), short-term (1 month) exposure to PM2.5 and PM10, and medium-term (3 months) exposure to PM10. Body water distribution might be a mediator that aggravates OSA manifestations, and short-term exposure to PM2.5 and PM10 may be a risk factor for OSA. Conclusion: Because exposure to PM2.5 and PM10 may be a risk factor for OSA that exacerbates OSA manifestations and exposure to particulate pollutants may affect OSA manifestations or alter body water distribution to affect OSA manifestations, mitigating exposure to particulate pollutants may improve OSA manifestations and reduce the risk of OSA. Furthermore, this study elucidated the potential mechanisms underlying the relationship between air pollution, body fluid parameters, and OSA severity.
- air pollution
- intra-to-extracellular body water distribution
- obstructive sleep apnea
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health