Snoring: It’s in the Air that You Breathe
Using EPA air pollution data from a number of different American cities, researchers have established the first link between air pollution and both hypopnea (under breathing) and apnea (pauses in breathing) during sleep. Also studied was the affect that increases of temperature play on these sleeping disorders. Known as sleep disordered breathing (SDB), hypopnea and apnea can cause temporary elevations in blood pressure, lower blood oxygen levels, and can lead to high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases.
In a study that will be published in the upcoming issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health have explored the effects of air pollution and temperature increases on sleep apnea and hypopnea episodes. Using data from the EPA monitoring air pollution levels in 7 U.S. cities (Framingham, Minneapolis, New York City, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Sacramento and Tucson), they studied it against data from the Sleep Heart Health Study of 6,000 people from 1995 to 1998.
The doctors were looking to find a correlation between “the elevation in ambient air pollution with an increased risk of SDB, nocturnal hypoxia and with reduced sleep quality,” as well as how “seasonal variations in temperature would exert an independent effect on SDB and sleep efficiency.” Using the data, and taking into account certain seasonal variables, they looked at known SDB factors including a patient’s age, gender and whether or not they smoke.
The results were that this is the first study to link air pollution and sleep disordered breathing. Antonella Zanobetti, Ph.D, a researcher on the project stated, ’We found novel evidence for pollution and temperature effects on sleep-disordered breathing.” They also found that increases in sleep apnea or hypopnea “were associated with increases in short-term temperature over all seasons, and with increases in particle pollution levels in the summer months.” The short-term rises in temperature were associated with changes in respiratory disturbances, blood oxygen levels and decreases in sleep efficiency.
Sleep disordered breathing affects nearly 17 percent of the adults in the U.S., and many more aren’t aware they have a problem, since the episodes happen at night. If you feel you might suffer from a sleep apnea or hypopnea, because you’re experiencing some of the daytime symptoms, it is important to get treatment.
To get more information on how to treat sleep apnea or snoring disorder, contact Eos Sleep.
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