It’s now been weeks since the NSW bushfires blew smoke haze across the harbour city and citizens are urged to stay indoors where possible to avoid the dangerous level of air pollution.
For those who suffer from respiratory and sleep related breathing disorders, the risk may be worse. The incidence of inflammatory airway diseases like bronchitis and asthma have historically increased significantly during times where smoke fog has settled. Not surprisingly upper airway inflammation can also worsen obstructive sleep apnoea.
And for those with a high cardiovascular risk or historical cardiovascular issues, these can be exacerbated by air pollution. Severe obstructive sleep apnoea has also been linked to hypertension and uncontrolled sleep apnoea, paired with high amounts of air pollution have been shown to have a confounding effect with relation to high blood pressure.
It’s important to keep adherent to CPAP therapy, but especially when environmental factors can impose an additional risk to your health. Likewise it’s important during this time to be vigilant of the state of your CPAP filter.
Manufacturers state their filters have a high degree of efficiency regarding filtration of large particulate matter and research showed a reasonable filtration rate for fine particles (like that of smoke haze), in particular when using an ultrafine filter. Manufacturer recommendations are to replace or clean your CPAP filter every 3 – 6 months. However with Sydney’s air pollution being as high as it is, cleaning your filters more regularly ensures you protect your machine and your lungs.
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- Liu, Wen-Te. Et al. (2016). The association of annual air pollution exposure with blood pressure among patients with sleep disordered breathing. Sc. of the Total Environment. 543:61-66
- Billings, ME. Et al. (2019). The association of Ambient Air Pollution with Sleep Apnea: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. All Annals ATS. 16(3)
- Kampa, M & Castanas E. (2008). Human health effects of air pollution. Environmental Pollution. 151(2):362-67
- Kristo, D. et al. (2012). The potential for delivery of particulate matter through positive airway pressure devices (CPAP/BPAP). Sleep Breath. 16:193-98