Mar 4, 2012, 4:34 PM
Post #12 of 13
There are a number of factors which governs one's response to altitude.
The first is genetics and has little to do with one's conditioning. In one situation a high performance athlete could struggle at 5,000 feet whereas an overweight, out-of-condition 60 year old will have no difficulty at 12,000 feet.
The second is the pulmonary health of the individual. For example COPD (Emphysema) directly affects one's ability to function well at altitude.
What is the issue? Simply put, the higher you go, the thinner the air which means that in every breath the % of oxygen becomes less the higher you go. What is called high altitude sickness is actually a simple response to not being able to get enough oxygen exchanged into the blood stream from the available oxygen.
Some people simply can't deal with the reduced oxygen at altitude.
Varies with the individual. However, the airlines have determined that 7,000 to 8,000 feet of altitude is comfortable for most people and that is the altitude to which they pressurize their cabins when flying at real altitude (30 to 37,000 feet). Those that have altitude dyspenea (inability to effectively exchange oxygen at altitude) will finish a 4 hour flight feeling exhausted, somewhat light headed and quite sleepy because they have been at a reduced oxygen intake level for the four hours. Why? because at 7 to 8,000 feet the oxygen is at only 80% that of sea level.
Most folk won't show as strong a reaction if any because they can effectively obtain enough oxygen from that 80%. Those genetically predisposed to altitude dsypenea or have COPD will struggle.
OK. So what can be done.
1. Some folk will obtain a prescription for Diamox. Diamox assists in the release of CO2 from the lungs which enables the uptake of O2. Often used by mountain climbers before an ascent to assist in their normalizing to altitude. Taken for 3 or 4 days before altitude is reached.
2. Some folk use chlorophyll to assist in the production of red blood cells (the oxygen carriers). More red blood cells, = more capacity for oxygen uptake. Difficulty = blood that becomes thicker due to the abundance of red blood cells. Thus common sense and self monitoring applies if that is a situation of concern to the individual.
3. There are other non-allotropic teas and herbal blends that will assist - beyond my knowledge base.
4. There are other allotropic medications which can assist with actually being at altitude but this is also beyond my knowledge base.
Hope this helps someone!
Oh yes. Why do I know this? Because I spent 15 years in Lake Chapala living at 5,000 feet when I should have been living at or below 2,000 feet. - Explains a lot of stupid decisions I made over those 15 years! :) But I wouldn't trade one of those years!