A 4-year research done jointly by the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Harvard School of Global Health show that people living in higher altitudes have lower risks of dying from ischemic heart disease, although altitudes above 4,900 is detrimental to COPD sufferers.
Analyzing death certificates in all counties in the US, the researchers found that 17 of 20 counties with the longest life expectancy are found in the highlands of Colorado and Utah, with mean elevation of 5,967 feet above sea level.
Experts say that low-oxygen environments trigger some genes that change the way the heart muscles function, while other genes may cause development of new blood vessels that facilitate blood flow into the heart. Increased solar radiation in high altitudes that allows better absorption of vitamin D by the body is also one of the reasons for the low occurrence of cancer and heart disease.
Picture Credit: davidconger.com