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Ann Intern Med. 2003 Aug 19;139(4):253-7.

Obesity: associations with acute mountain sickness.

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  • 1Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine, Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, Texas 75231, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Although few retrospective studies of high altitude have reported that obesity might be associated with the development of acute mountain sickness (AMS), this association has not been studied prospectively.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether obesity is associated with the development of AMS.

DESIGN:

Obese and nonobese men were compared at a simulated altitude of 3658 m (12 000 ft).

SETTING:

24 hours in a hypobaric environmental chamber.

PARTICIPANTS:

9 obese and 10 nonobese men.

MEASUREMENTS:

Percentage body fat (by hydrostatic weighing), Lake Louise AMS score, and Sao2 level (by pulse oximetry) were measured.

RESULTS:

Average AMS scores increased more rapidly with time spent at simulated high altitudes for obese men than for nonobese men (P < 0.001). The response of Sao2 with exposure differed between nonobese and obese men. After 24 hours in the altitude chamber, seven obese men (78%) and four nonobese men (40%) had AMS scores of 4 or more.

CONCLUSION:

Obesity seems to be associated with the development of AMS, which may be partly related to greater nocturnal desaturation with altitude exposure.

PMID:
12965980
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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