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(Feb. 7, 2018) – Inspired by the Winter Olympics to head up to the mountains for some winter sports? Michael Kim, MD, an interventional cardiologist at North Colorado Medical Center, urges travelers to pack some extra precautions along with their ski poles: heart problems can become more serious in higher altitudes.
“Even people who don’t have any cardiac problems can face nausea and increased heart rates when going into higher elevations,” says Kim.
Kim’s remarks can be found on the Banner Health newsroom. They are available in an easy-to-download format and can be edited for media purposes.
“The air in higher elevations is thinner and contains less oxygen, making it harder to breathe,” says Kim. “That puts an extra strain on the cardiovascular system.”
When entering higher altitudes, your heart must work harder to deliver oxygen to your tissues.
In the video, Kim offers tips on how to prevent high-altitude sickness from ruining your winter break. People should try to acclimate to the area before engaging in strenuous exercise including skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, sledding and ice skating. Getting used to the mountain air may take a couple days and it is important to properly hydrate.
Link to Kim's video