Objectives: In recent years, transboundary air pollution from mainland East Asia has led to growing concerns about air pollution in Japan. Air pollution is reportedly associated with the exacerbation of respiratory diseases. In this study, we assessed the effects of air pollution on respiratory symptoms and the health status of participants with and without chronic respiratory diseases.
Methods: Participants (n=2753) with and without chronic respiratory diseases who visited healthcare facilities in Japan during February from 2010 to 2015 filled out a self-report questionnaire regarding their symptoms and perceived health status. Participants were followed up during April-May and June-July.
Results: Oxidant concentrations were associated with respiratory symptoms, overall health, and quality of life (QoL). Suspended particulate matter (SPM) and particulate matter <2.5 μm levels were associated with physical fitness; SPM was also associated with QoL. Recent experience of an Asian sand dust event had a significant effect on allergic symptoms, change in health, and QoL.
Conclusions: Respiratory symptoms were more strongly affected by oxidants than by other pollutants. Significant associations of air pollutants were found with a comprehensive range of items related to perceived health status, including overall health and QoL. Although the effects of air pollutants on respiratory symptoms and health status were more apparent among patients with respiratory diseases, the adverse effects of air pollutants were significant even among participants without such conditions.
Keywords: Air pollution; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Health status; Japan; Quality of life.
Conflict of interest statement
The authors have no conflicts of interest associated with the material presented in this paper.
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