Living in the mountains reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases

A new study found that people living in highlands have a low risk of developing chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetic anemia. The reason for this may be due to the fact that their body adapted to life with less oxygen.

Observation of Moso people living near the Tibetan plateau at an altitude of more than 2,500 thousand kilometers showed that they have a lower risk of developing hypertension and diabetic anemia than the low-mountain residents of Han. People have lived high on the Tibetan plateau for many thousands of years, and their physiological characteristics are likely to mitigate hypoxic stress.

While travelers at high altitudes experience a decrease in oxygen consumption of about 10 to 20%, Tibetans do not feel any deficiency. This is because their bodies naturally expand their blood vessels in a process called vasodilation to compensate for the reduced oxygen content. This increases their blood supply and lowers blood pressure to increase oxygen delivery.

As chronic diseases have recently become a global public health problem, researchers say it’s very important to understand how different local characteristics and genetic adaptations can affect them.

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