Aiming for the stars is great but you have to go through mountains indeed! Being a great mountaineer or even a hiker is not everyone’s cup of tea. Undoubtedly, you need a fit body and an even fitter mind but above all, your health must also permit your body for such adventures and experiences. Oxygen levels might be extremely low high up in the mountains and those travelling up and down a mountain must be ready to face changes in oxygen levels at any point of time. Even the amount of blood pumped by the heart around the body decreases at high altitudes. Though we are aware of such difficulties existing at greater altitudes its essential to understand what’s exactly causing it.
Rise High Above the Challenges
Exploring the possibilities for decreased pumping of blood has remained a topic of interest not because there is an increase in the number of trekkers, hikers and mountaineers but ever since scientists were involved in their first summit of the Mt. Everest. The latest study on these involved researchers collecting data on how the heart and the pulmonary blood vessels adapt to life in the presence of decreased oxygen. Analysis shows that at a high attitude (above 3000m) the decreased presence of oxygen in the air results in a decrease in the volume of blood circulating around the body thereby increasing the blood pressure in the lungs. This decrease in circulating blood levels and increase in blood pressure plays a strong role in reducing the amount of blood the heart can pump with each beat. Despite such issues never once do they affect our ability to exercise at high altitudes.
While this is the mechanism that happens in individuals who travel up and down the mountains what about those whose lives revolve around such mountains and high altitudes?
Research shows that any altitude above 4900 feet has a grave impact on those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or facing breathing problems. COPD causes debilitating side effects when left unattended and for more details about this please visit the website www.firsteatright.com. For others it’s been shown that living at high altitudes decreases the risk of death from heart disease. Researchers feel that lower oxygen levels turn on certain genes and these genes have a strong impact on the heart muscle function. These genes might also produce new blood vessels that enable blood flow into the heart. Some other scientists feel that mankind is better exposed to increased solar radiation at high altitudes and this helps the body synthesize vitamin D in a better way. Such increased synthesis might be beneficial on the heart and some other kind of cancers too. In fact, people living at a high altitude have the ability to make more oxygen-carrying red blood cells, the blood contains less fluid and the heart works a little less than those of people living in other regions. This doesn’t show that exercising at a high altitude is any better than exercising elsewhere but when there is a threat of a heart attack those who’ve been surviving at a higher altitude fare better. That’s because the heart works more efficiently than those of other individuals who survive in the plains due to the increased presence of oxygen-carrying red blood cells.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
+91 7846 800 800
Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.