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High Altitude and Blood Pressure: Clinical Implications

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Exercise, Sports and Hypertension

Abstract

Ascending to high altitude (HA) carries exposure to extreme environmental conditions, including low temperatures and air humidity, high level of UV radiation and, foremostly, low atmospheric pressure leading to reduced oxygen availability. The response of human body to HA exposure is complex and involves a number of physiological changes, mainly of adaptive character but sometimes leading to maladaptation and consequent pathological conditions such as acute mountain sickness (including its more severe forms such as high altitude pulmonary edema and high-altitude cerebral edema) and chronic mountain sickness. Arterial blood pressure (BP) is not immune to HA influence, its modifications being the net result of changes in local regulation of microcirculation, autonomic nervous system activity, blood volume and density, cardiac function and arterial wall properties. This chapter discusses the currently available evidence on the BP changes during HA exposures of varying duration, the underlying mechanisms, the possible clinical implications and therapeutic aspects. Epidemiology of hypertension in permanent HA inhabitants is also addressed.

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Bilo, G., Pengo, M., Torlasco, C., Caravita, S., Parati, G. (2022). High Altitude and Blood Pressure: Clinical Implications. In: Palatini, P., Agabiti-Rosei, E., Mancia, G. (eds) Exercise, Sports and Hypertension. Updates in Hypertension and Cardiovascular Protection. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-07958-0_14

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