Effects of Altitude on Your Body

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Effects of Altitude on Your Body

As elevation increases, the lower oxygen pressure leads to different effects on your body such as decreasing the maximum amount of oxygen you use (VO2max) and altitude illness. As your VO2max goes down, so does your ability to perform because you can’t get enough oxygen to your muscles and brain.

Extreme altitude is over 5,490 meters. The elevation of Mount Everest is 8,848 meters. The percentage of oxygen compared to sea level is 33%, and the VO2 max decreases by 80%. For a mountain elevation of 6,000 meters, the percentage of oxygen compared to sea level is 49%, and the VO2 max decreases by 45%.

Very high altitude is between 4,270 and 5,490 meters. Altitude illness and performance declines happen in this range.

High altitude is between 2,440 and 4,270 meters. For a mountain elevation of 3,000 meters, the percentage of oxygen compared to sea level is 71%, and the VO2 max decreases by 15%. The average elevation of Afghanistan is 1,885 meters. The percentage of oxygen compared to sea level is 81%, and the VO2max decreases by 7%. For a mountain elevation of 1 mile (or 1,600 meters), the percentage of oxygen compared to sea level is 83%, and the VO2 max decreases by 5%.