My father is 58 years old and is a long-time sufferer of high blood pressure. He was also diagnosed with diabetes a few years ago. However, both ailments are well under control using medication and he is very careful about his diet and other factors that might affect his health. He is considering moving to a city that is 2500m (just over 8000 ft) above sea-level for a couple of years. Is such a move advisable or is living at such high altitudes dangerous for high blood pressure patients? What other health-related information is it important for him to consider? What kind of precautions are advised?
Thank you for your help.
There is no absolute contraindication to living at a high altitude with hypertension. However, there are physiologic changes in the body that occur with the transition mostly due to the lower oxygen tension at the higher atmosphere. Usually, the body acclimates over several weeks to adapt to the changes.
Strong contraindications to air travel or moving into a higher altitude by coronary patients include 1. New-onset angina. 2. Unstable angina. 3. Frequent or high-grade ventricular ectopy. 4. Severe or poorly controlled hypertension. If these were the case, they should be addressed prior to the move.
After the move, it would probably be useful to use frequent monitoring of his blood pressure to make any medication adjustments that might be required.
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