If you have high blood pressure or heart problems, don’t go to these places

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In a recent state from AHA, researchers found visiting high-altitude locations may be dangerous for people with high blood pressure or certain heart conditions.

They suggest that to help prepare for emergencies beforehand, people with high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart rhythm abnormalities or heart failure first should check with a health care professional.

Consequences can be serious and even fatal, such as sudden cardiac death, which can occur within the first 24 hours of altitude change.

Many people are familiar with symptoms of acute mountain sickness such as headaches, dizziness, nausea and weakness.

However, they may be less aware of the stress placed on the body – and particularly the heart and lungs – when people with heart disease travel to mountainous regions where there is a reduction in oxygen availability compared to sea-level conditions.

The team says at higher altitudes – any place 9,840 feet above sea level or higher – the heart needs more oxygen-rich blood, even at rest.

Activities at higher altitudes such as skiing, hiking, bicycling or climbing can place too much stress on the heart and blood vessels due to lower levels of oxygen and fluctuations in air pressure, temperature and humidity.

Even at moderate altitudes, such as 8,800 feet above sea level, fainting can be common and may happen within 24 hours of making the ascent.

More than 100 million people travel to high-altitude, mountainous regions in the U.S. for work or pleasure each year.

Many have risk factors for or already have been diagnosed with heart disease, so it’s important to know the potential impact of exertion on the body, especially when medical centers that provide advanced cardiac care can be difficult to find or reach in some mountain areas.

People who live at high altitudes face fewer risks because their bodies have had time to adjust to living with less oxygen.

The statement advises increasing altitude gradually to give the body time to adjust to lower oxygen levels; drinking lots of fluids for better hydration; limiting or avoiding alcohol; and planning how to descend in an emergency.

It suggests people with heart conditions consult a doctor about whether they need to adjust heart medications before travel.

Finally, it recommends anyone who could potentially require emergency care to identify where to find it and to learn the symptoms that would prompt a need for it.

If you care about blood pressure, please read studies about common blood pressure drugs could boost colon cancer survival and findings of low hormone in heart may cause high blood pressure at night.

For more information about high blood pressure, please see recent studies about this type of food may help control blood pressure and results showing that this eating habit may reduce diabetes-related high blood pressure.

The study is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. One author of the study is Dr. William Cornwell III.

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