Adapting to High Altitude

When we travel to high altitudes, our bodies initially
develop inefficient physiological responses. There is
an increase in breathing and heart rate to as much
as double even while resting. Pulse rate and blood
pressure go up sharply as our hearts pump harder
to get more oxygen to the cells.  These are stressful
changes, especially for people with weak hearts.

 

Later, a more efficient response normally develops as
acclimatization takes place.   More red blood cells and
capillaries are produced to carry more oxygen. 
The lungs increase in size to facilitate the osmosis
of oxygen and carbon dioxide.  There is also an
increase in the vascular network of muscles which
enhances the transfer of gases.