Recent studies suggest that exposure to air pollution might be associated with severity of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB). However, the association between air pollution exposure, especially particulate matter with aerodynamic diameters <= 2.5 μm (PM2.5), and SDB is still unclear. We collected 4312 participants' data from the Taipei Medical University Hospital's Sleep Center and air pollution data from the Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration. Associations of particulate matter with aerodynamic diameters <=10 μm (PM10), PM2.5, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) with apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) and oxygen desaturation index (ODI) were investigated by generalized additive models. We found that an interquartile range (IQR) increase in 1-year mean PM2.5 (3.4 μg/m3) and NO2 (2.7 ppb) was associated with a 4.7% and 3.6% increase in AHI, respectively. We also observed the association of an IQR increase in 1-year mean PM2.5 with a 2.5% increase in ODI. The similar pattern was found in the association of daily mean PM2.5 exposure with increased AHI. Moreover, participants showed significant AHI and ODI responses to air pollution levels in spring and winter. We concluded that exposure to PM2.5 was associated with SDB. Effects of air pollution on AHI and ODI were significant in spring and winter. PM2.5 was associated with sleep-disordered breathing among the general population in urban environments in spring and winter.
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