The effect of higher altitude over the blood pressure (BP) is not exactly known, and it appears to vary both between and within individuals. The effects of lower temperature, light, increased physical stress, and duration of living at higher altitude also play a significant role. Most of the studies showed that higher altitude correlated with rising BP. This change in BP is due to many factors, the important one being the effect of hypoxia causing activation of sympathetic nervous system. Activation of sympathetic nervous system causes an increase in cardiac output, heart rate, and peripheral vasoconstriction, which lead to increase in BP. The incidence of BP in high latitudes is controversial; some research shows greater rates while others show lesser rates of hypertension in these individuals. It may be due to the effects of multiple other confounding factors like genetic, ecological, and lifestyle variables. Hence, increasing popularity of high-altitude travel needs further research to evaluate this problem. Furthermore, the implications of altitude-induced hypertension for cardiovascular risk and end-organ damage require more clarification.
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