Exposure to air pollutants, also known as fine particulate matter (PM2.5), is associated with a risk of clustering multiple chronic diseases, according to a new study published this week by PLOS Global Public Health.
Some previous studies have provided ample evidence on the link between air pollution and individual chronic diseases. Although chronic diseases become clusters due to shared biological or environmental risk factors, there is a limited idea of how air pollution can promote the accumulation of multiple chronic diseases.
In the new study, researchers Kai Hu and his colleagues, used data from 19,098 respondents to the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) survey from 2011 to 2015, as well as historical satellite data on PM2.5 exposure over 15 years. Participants were people aged 45 to 85 years in 125 cities across China.
When the team modeled the relationship between self-reported chronic disease diagnosis and PM2.5 exposure, the data revealed four distinct groups of multi-morbidity, with patients selected in respiratory, muscular, cardio-metabolic, or healthy clusters.
Analysis showed that 1µg / m3 increased the contraction of PM2.5 over 15 years by 2.4 percent (95% CI 1.02-1.03), increasing the likelihood of association with respiratory clusters, a 1.5 percent (95% CI 1.01) -1.02) muscular The probability of joining the cluster increased and the probability of joining the cardio-metabolic cluster increased by 3.3 percent (95% CI 1.03-1.04).
The authors said, “Both lower and higher historical PM2.5 exposure is associated with faster multimorbidity accumulation. However, higher exposure to PM2.5 is associated with a higher risk of developing cardio-metabolic and respiratory multimorbidity (dominated by lung disease), whereas lower PM2.5 exposure is associated with a higher likelihood of musculoskeletal multimorbidity.”