Saturday December 7, 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.

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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

Children of Diabetic Mothers May Develop Heart Risks: Study

Kids born of diabetic mothers at heart risk

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Diabetes- heart
Children of mothers with diabetes have increased rates of early onset heart diseases. Pixabay

Children of mothers with diabetes have increased rates of early onset cardiovascular disease or CVD (conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels) from childhood up to the age of 40, the researchers have warned.

The increased rates were more pronounced among children of mothers with a history of CVD or diabetic complications, said the study published in the journal The BMJ.

“our study provides evidence that children of mothers with diabetes, especially those with a history of CVD or with diabetic complications, had increased rates of early onset CVD throughout the early decades of life,” said study researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark.

If this association is shown to be causal, preventing, screening, and treating diabetes in women of childbearing age could be important not only for improving the health of the women but also for reducing long term risks of CVD in their offspring, the researchers added

The number of women diagnosed with diabetes before or during pregnancy has increased globally, and children of these women are more likely to have risk factors for future CVD, such as high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels.

It is unclear, however, whether or to what extent exposure to diabetes in the womb increases the risk of developing CVD in offspring over a lifetime.

Heart disease
Children with diabetic mothers may develop CVD which may increase heart complications. Pixabay

So an international team of researchers set out to evaluate associations between diabetes diagnosed before or during pregnancy and early onset CVD in children during their first four decades of life.

They base their findings on national registry data for over 2.4 million children born without congenital heart disease in Denmark from 1977 to 2016.

Diabetes was categorised as pregestational (before pregnancy) or gestational (during pregnancy) and women with diabetic complications were identified.

Other potentially influential factors, such as mother’s age, education, lifestyle and medical history were also taken into account.

During up to 40 years of follow-up, children of mothers with diabetes had a 29 per cent increased overall rate of early onset CVD compared with children of mothers who did not have diabetes (cumulative risks: 17.8 per cent vs 13.1 per cent ).

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The researchers also found higher rates for specific types of CVD children of mothers with diabetes, particularly heart failure (45 per cent), hypertensive disease (78 per cent), deep vein thrombosis (82 per cent), and pulmonary embolism (91 per cent).

Increased rates were seen in each age group in childhood (before 20 years of age) and early adulthood (from 20 to 40 years of age), regardless of the type of diabetes they were exposed to (pregestational or gestational) and rates were similar for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, the study said. (IANS)