NehaNeha, posted on on 8th Oct, 2017, 16 Views

Why there is so less oxygen in mountain areas?

Mountaineering is an exciting task and obviously loved by adventure sports lover, but a common problem faced by the people coming high mountains is the lack of oxygen at higher altitudes which results in chest heave, breathlessness, dizziness, and lungs burning. This is a common symptom observed by people climbing high altitude mountains. The next question is what causes this change and what are the reasons behind it. To know more on this, scroll down.

What causes less oxygen at a higher altitude?

As mentioned above, the oxygen amount starts to decrease as one starts moving above or going at high altitude. It has been observed that paces above 8000 feet have decreased oxygen amount and pressure. The thin air at higher altitudes have lesser oxygen and pressure, this is primarily because as we go towards height, the gravitational force of the earth begins to decrease. It is this gravity which holds the oxygen close to the surface of the earth. You would be amazed to know that half of the oxygen remains is found below 18,000 feet.

So, when you go at high altitude, the oxygen begins to decrease which means that your body doesn't have enough oxygen. This results in breathlessness, tiredness, and dizziness. This is also known as altitude sickness. At higher altitude, it is not only the oxygen which starts to decrease but, the air pressure also decreases, which hits the cardiovascular activity of the body.  A higher altitude, the air pressure is lesser in the outer environment as compared to your body which makes it difficult for the lungs to pump oxygen resulting in increased blood pressure and heart rate. this can result in a headache and dizziness.

If it goes untreated, it can result in High-Altitude Pulmonary Edema. The symptoms of this disease are extreme tiredness and breathlessness which eventually claims the life of the person. Hence its always advisable to take necessary medication before climbing and also undergo training to keep your body in best shape while you climb at higher altitude.

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