Originally Posted by KenFL
85 year old on medicine for moderately high blood pressure will be traveling to New Mexico. Anyone know whether a change in altitude from sea level to an elevated area affect the blood pressure and if so, how?
Thanks in advance... K.
Altitudes less than 5 miles above sea level usually is not a problem...A gradual ascent to Denver (mile high) would provide a safe reaction as it gives the system time to adjust.
For some perspective, oxygen easily passes through lung membranes into the blood at sea level. High altitudes (lower air pressure) makes it difficult for oxygen to enter one's vascular system (medically termed hypoxia).
Hypoxia creates an inability to do normal activities without fatigue. There is an increase risk of heart failure due to the added stress placed on lungs, heart and arteries at high altitude.
And there is an increase in breathing and heart rate to as much as double even while resting. Pulse rate and blood pressure go up sharply as our hearts pump harder to get more oxygen to the cells. These are stressful changes, especially for people with weak hearts.