No doubt, high altitude has a direct relationship with human blood pressure. Also, many researchers have carried out various researches to answer this question, “Does altitude affect blood pressure?”. After having different results, we came to know that for sure the answer to this question is yes. As you start ascending to a greater height, your blood pressure continues to increase. At a certain height, blood pressure increases to such a level that you need certain medication to control it.
Does Altitude Affect Blood Pressure? A Research on Mount Everest
Very well-known research was there on Mount Everest a few years back. There were 47 volunteers who climbed up the mountain and they were having blood pressure monitoring devices with them. These devices showed a clear rise in blood pressure as they move upwards. These volunteers also took blood pressure medicines with them to avoid any severe health issues. The researchers collected the blood samples of these people as well. As a result, it was found that at a certain altitude an increase in systolic as well as diastolic blood pressure is seen.
High Altitude Along with Oxygen Deprivation Does Affect Blood Pressure
When a person reaches to high altitude, generally there is oxygen deprivation at such heights. Due to this, the body’s nervous system is activated more and the human heart has to work harder thus increasing blood pressure. Therefore we can say that apart from ventilation, high altitude affects blood viscosity and acid-base balance of the human body as well.
In the given chart it is obviously seen that as altitude increases, oxygen saturation level starts decreasing and the same trend goes on.
Why Does High Altitude not Affect the Blood Pressure of the Residents Over There?
It is also seen that people who live at higher altitudes have no such health issues. In the initial days, it might have taken time but then gradually they adjust to that environment. If a person decides to live at that altitude he needs to drink a lot of fluids so that his body does not have to cope with dehydration. Moreover, alcohol should not be there at all. There must be a proper emergency plan to move back in case of any severe issue. It is also recommended to spend one night at a comparatively low-level altitude so that body may not experience sudden change. By following these simple steps, your body can be used to those lower oxygen levels.
If people having certain cardiac issues and hypertension move to a high altitude they may experience the following problems
- Arteries in their bodies get narrowed
- Shortness of breath
- Restricted blood flow to the heart
- Chest pain
Moreover, heart patients need to revise their medication schedules as advised by their doctors before visiting such places. They may need medicines of a higher potency or higher doses to control blood pressure at that level. Apart from that, they should carry blood pressure monitoring devices with them to avoid any serious problems.
If a person has a history of minor or major heart attacks, it may lead to sudden death there. So there is no doubt to the question that does altitude affect your blood pressure. Obviously, it does.
Can People with High Blood Pressure Travel to High Altitudes?
As man has progressed a lot in the field of medical science, therefore, people with high blood pressure can surely do travel to such places but with certain precautions.
High blood pressure is a disease that leads to an increase in blood flow against artery walls. This can further lead to various medical problems including poor vision, disability, and also heart problems.
What Happens to Your Blood Pressure When You Return Home from a High Altitude?
If you go to high altitudes and do not let your body adjust there gradually, you may feel altitude sickness. It has many symptoms. So when you travel back, most of the symptoms fade away on their own but in very rare cases, they remain there and need proper treatment.
Does Altitude Affect Blood Pressure? Yes, Here are Some Types of Altitude Sickness
You can categorize altitude sickness as follows.
It has very mild symptoms like headache and fatigue. These symptoms do not interfere with normal routine activities and a person does not feel ill. When you come to a lower level, these symptoms gradually fade away. Or if you stay at a high altitude these symptoms would disappear there as well as soon as the body adjusts there. The most common symptoms of this category are
- No appetite
- Sleeping issues
These symptoms make you feel sick. You do not participate in daily activities in a normal way. The most common symptoms are headache, nausea, and difficulty in coordination. You will only feel better when you move towards low altitudes. Symptoms that are under this category are as follows.
- Difficulty in walking
- Difficulty in maintaining balance
- Severe nausea
These are very dangerous symptoms. You get shortness of breath even in the rest position. You cannot even walk properly. Moving to a low altitude won’t help you alone. Instead, proper medical treatment should be there. These symptoms can also be fatal. These symptoms basically include
- Shortness of breath to an extreme level
- Excessive Fluid in the brain or lungs
- Medical treatment for Altitude sickness
High Altitude Pulmonary Edema
It is a very serious problem that harms the human lungs. Actually, fluid in the lungs increases which is responsible for shortness of breath. You feel the same condition even in the rest position. The most common symptoms of this condition are
It is a condition in which human skin or nails start turning blue.
- Suffocation especially at night.
- Cough causing white fluid out from the body
- Too much tightness in the chest.
High Altitude Cerebral Edema
This condition causes excessive fluid in the brain which leads to brain swelling. Symptoms include confusion and very violent behavior. Moreover, you start lacking coordination in simple routine tasks. Symptoms of this condition are
- Loss of memory
- Psycho behavior
Thus, we see that altitude does affect blood pressure. Rather, it also affects many other human biological mechanisms. The best way to cope with it is to take a well-balanced diet and have a regular walk and exercise. These lifestyle habits are sure to improve your general physical and mental health and boost your stamina. These, in turn, will keep you fit enough to climb an altitude without having any effect on your blood pressure. However, consult your family doctor the soonest you feel anything untoward with your normal working abilities.