HealthDay News — Higher cumulative exposure to air pollution is associated with increased risks for multimorbidity patterns in older adults, according to a study published online June 29 in PLOS Global Public Health.

Kai Hu, from the University of St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland, and colleagues examined associations between PM2.5 exposure and multimorbidity disease clusters and then estimated the associations between PM2.5 exposure and the development of multimorbidity longitudinally using growth curve modeling for adults aged 45 to 85 years in China.

The researchers identified four latent classes representing three multimorbidity patterns (respiratory, musculoskeletal, cardiometabolic) and one healthy pattern. For each 1 μg/m3 increase in cumulative exposure to PM2.5, there was a higher likelihood of belonging to respiratory (2.4 percent), musculoskeletal (1.5 percent), or cardiometabolic clusters (3.3 percent). There was a U-shaped association observed between PM2.5 exposure and multimorbidity in growth curve modeling, indicating that both lower and higher PM2.5 exposure is associated with increased multimorbidity levels. Clustering of musculoskeletal diseases was seen in higher multimorbidity areas of low air pollution, while higher air pollution was associated with cardiometabolic disease clusters.


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“Our study highlights how multimorbidity clusters vary contextually and reveals that PM2.5 exposure is more detrimental to health among older adults,” the authors write.

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