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Effects of High Altitude on the Human Body

Elevated altitude environments have significant effects on the human body. This is because the human body takes time to adjust to changes in air and oxygen levels with higher altitudes. High altitude affects sleep quality, exercising capacity, body weight, mental functioning, and muscle structure. That is why researchers emphasize the importance of using an altitude simulation chart before traveling to higher altitudes. This article will explain the effects of high altitude on the human body.

Quality of Sleep

Altitude sickness can have different effects depending on the health of the person. It is important to note that altitude sickness could also affect physically fit people. This happens because, with elevated altitude levels, there are reduced oxygen levels and air pressure. So, reduced oxygen content results in breathing instability, leading to sleep disturbances. The changes in the sleeping patterns could cause arousal issues, fatigue and affect memory speed. The best way to overcome these problems is to sleep at a lower level and rest after every 1000 ft. Also, it is wise to take it easy when climbing to higher levels to avoid exhausting the body.

Effect on the Body Weight

Travelers need energy when going to higher altitude levels. The higher the altitude levels, the lower the oxygen rate and air pressure. The reduction in oxygen levels intake is the main reason for decreased muscle cross-section. These changes correlate with overall muscle decline and weight loss. Also, the changes could result in fatigue, body weakness, and dizziness. So the best way to remedy this problem is to ingest curbs during your travel. The curbs are rich in calories that will help in higher altitude levels. Ensure to carry healthy snacks, including whole grain, when climbing or traveling to elevated levels.

Mental Functioning/ Performance

Research shows that a reduction in oxygen levels could significantly affect the functioning of the mind. The changes could affect human motor skills, mood states such as anxiety and paranoia, and mental efficiency. The symptoms of altitude sickness affect mental performance, including fatigue, visual sensitivity, and temporary memory loss. It would be wise for travelers to climb slowly, take it easy as they travel by taking a rest in intervals of travel, and drink water as they travel to higher altitude levels. Also, it is not advisable to take alcohol, smoke cigarettes, or sleeping pills when traveling to elevated altitude levels.

Exercising Capacity

Exposure to reduced oxygen levels and severe hypoxia can adversely affect the muscle structure. Changes in the muscle structure could result in reduced metabolism levels, which affects the exercising capacity. The changes could also lead to loss of appetite, hormonal imbalance, weight loss, and decreased water levels. That’s why it’s wise to carry drinking water and snacks rich in carbohydrates when traveling to higher altitude levels. This will ensure that the body stays hydrated and increase the energy levels in the body.

Oxygen Consumption Levels

The maximum oxygen consumption levels depend on the body’s fitness in transporting and using the oxygen to exercise. Notably, there are reduced oxygen and air pressure levels with increased altitude levels. This means that body fitness plays a significant role in oxygen usage when traveling or climbing to higher levels. It would be essential to consult an experienced medical professional to evaluate any present health risks before traveling to higher altitude levels. Health issues could worsen the altitude sickness leading to severe symptoms that could be emergency health risks. Also, the traveler could use the acetazolamide medication to mitigate the altitude sickness symptoms.


The human body must have time to adjust to environmental changes, especially with changes in altitude levels. The effects of altitude depend on factors such as individual physiology, level of altitude the traveler sleeps, the final altitude reached, and the rate of ascent to altitude. Traveling to greater elevation levels could result in symptoms and signs of altitude sickness.

 That is why it would be wise to take it easy during the travel to higher altitude levels by slow climbing and taking rests after every 1000ft of travel. Also, it is necessary to drink water and eat curbs to boost energy levels and stay hydrated. Most importantly, remember to use an altitude simulation chart before traveling to elevated altitude levels. These techniques will help mitigate the effects of high altitude on the human body.

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