Thursday February 21, 2019

Why Heart Function is Reduced at High Altitude Decoded

The findings will be important for people who live, travel and exercise at high altitudes

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Why Heart Function is Reduced at High Altitude Decoded
Why Heart Function is Reduced at High Altitude Decoded. Pixabay

Low amount of oxygen at moutain peaks decreases the volume of blood circulating around the body, and increases blood pressure in the lungs, resulting in reduced heart function at high altitudes, say researchers.

However, the researchers also found that while both these factors impact blood flow, it surprisingly does not impact the body’s ability to exercise to its fullest extent.

The findings will be important for people who live, travel and exercise at high altitudes.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

The research improves our understanding of how the human body adapts to high altitude areas and will help us make exploration and tourism of Earth’s mountainous regions safer, and may also help facilitate exercise performance in a wide range of sporting events that take place at high altitude, said researchers led by Michael Stembridge, from the Cardiff Metropolitan University in Wales, Britain

“We hope to apply the findings of this work to help improve the health and well-being of these populations by furthering our understanding of the condition and exploring therapeutic targets,” he said.

Also Read: Get Married to Have Better Bones!

Many people who visit high altitudes suffer from “Chronic Mountain Sickness”, which occurs when there is lower oxygen pressure present. It results in shortness of breath, headache, and a fast heartbeat.

For the research, published in The Journal of Physiology, the team collected data of a small group on how the heart and pulmonary blood vessels adapt to life with less oxygen.

The researchers and participants conducted the study during two weeks at a remote research facility in California.

Furthermore, echocardiography was used to assess cardiac and pulmonary vascular function which is non-invasive and indirect. (IANS)

Next Story

Almost Half Of U.S. Adults Suffer From Heart Or Blood Vessel Disease: Report

Heart and blood vessel disease is linked to 1 of every 3 deaths in the United States and kills more Americans than all forms of cancer and respiratory diseases like pneumonia combined.

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Heart
A monitor shows a three-dimensional image of a human heart at the Klaus-Tschira-Institute for Integrative Computational Cardiology, department of the Heidelberg University Hospital, in Heidelberg, Germany, Aug. 14, 2018. VOA

A new report estimates that nearly half of all U.S. adults have some form of heart or blood vessel disease, a medical milestone that’s mostly due to recent guidelines that expanded how many people have high blood pressure.

The American Heart Association said Thursday that more than 121 million adults had cardiovascular disease in 2016. Taking out those with only high blood pressure leaves 24 million, or 9 percent of adults, who have other forms of disease such as heart failure or clogged arteries.

Measuring the burden of diseases shows areas that need to improve, the heart association’s chief science and medical officer, Dr. Mariell Jessup, said in a statement.

Traditional pacemakers use leads with electrodes on one end that are threaded through blood vessels to connect to the heart.
Traditional pacemakers use leads with electrodes on one end that are threaded through blood vessels to connect to the heart. Wikimedia Commons

High blood pressure, which had long been defined as a top reading of at least 140 or a bottom one of 90, dropped to 130 over 80 under guidelines adopted in 2017. It raises the risk for heart attacks, strokes and many other problems, and only about half of those with the condition have it under control.

Being diagnosed with high blood pressure doesn’t necessarily mean you need medication right away; the first step is aiming for a healthier lifestyle, even for those who are prescribed medicine. Poor diets, lack of exercise and other bad habits cause 90 percent of high blood pressure.

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High blood pressure, which had long been defined as a top reading of at least 140 or a bottom one of 90, dropped to 130 over 80 under guidelines adopted in 2017.

The report is an annual statistics update by the heart association, the National Institutes of Health and others.

Other highlights:

  • Heart and blood vessel disease is linked to 1 of every 3 deaths in the United States and kills more Americans than all forms of cancer and respiratory diseases like pneumonia combined.
  • Certain groups have higher rates than others; 57 percent of black women and 60 percent of black males.

Also Read: Injecting Drugs May up Bacterial Heart Infections: Study

  • Coronary heart disease, or clogged or hardened arteries, caused 43 percent of cardiovascular deaths in the U.S., followed by stroke (17 percent), high blood pressure (10 percent) and heart failure (9 percent). (VOA)