Health PBL: Altitude, Blood Pressure and Heart Rate

Mateo Hidalgo, Nicholas Varela, Samantha Hidrobo, Juan Martín Restrepo, Antonia Pérez

Research Paper: Effects of Altitude on Heart Rate and Heart Pressure

Abstract
  • Heart rate and blood pressure undergo constant changes.
  • This research paper can be helpful in determining and understanding variations in the circulatory system.
  • Our experiment proves the changes can be attributed to both the activities being performed and the altitude in which they are being performed.
  • We analyzed our blood pressure and heart rate in Quito and Cusco.
  • Our results evidence how heart rate and blood pressure increment in higher altitudes as both were higher in Cusco.
  • In Quito and Cusco, heart rate and blood pressure increase as the activities performed increase in difficulty.
Background information
  • The normal and healthy blood pressure and heart rate vary depending on the person, the age, the health condition and especially on the activity being performed.
  • When resting, heart rate and blood pressure are averagely low.
  • If a person is resting, the heart does not need to pump much blood.
  • Similarly, when laying down, the body is not in need of large amounts oxygen.
  • When standing, a sudden increase in blood pressure and heart rate may occur.
  • Even more so when doing vigorous activity.
  • When exercising the body uses higher levels of energy.
  • The heart has to pump faster.
  • When a person travels to higher altitudes than usual, there is an increase in heart rate and blood pressure regardless of the activity being performed..
  • This drastic change is due to a lack of oxygen in high altitudes.
Hypothesis
  • We hypothesize that heart rate and blood pressure will be the lowest when laying down (followed by resting and standing up) in both cities and the highest when performing vigorous activity in both Quito and Cusco.
  • We also hypothesize heart rate and blood pressure will be higher in Cusco than in Quito for every activity performed.
Methods
  • The entire 10th grade class of Colgio Mneor gathered and analyzed data of our heart rate and blood pressure when performing different activities both in Quito and Cusco.
  • The experiment started in Quito, which has an altitude of 2800m
  • All the students’ heart rates and blood pressures were measured and recorded after resting , laying down , standing up and exercising.
  • The same was done in Cusco at an altitude of 3400m.
Results
  • This graph shows the Sistolic Blood Pressure of students when resting, reclining, standing, and while performing vigorous activity in Quito and Cusco.
  • For all the activities, the sistolic blood pressure was higher in Cusco than in Quito.
  • Both in Quito and Cusco, the sistolic blood pressure was the highest when performing vigorous activity and the lowest when resting.
  • This graph shows the Diastolic Blood Pressure of students when resting, reclining, standing, and while performing vigorous activity in Quito and Cusco.
  • For all the activities, the diastolic blood pressure was higher in Cusco than in Quito.
  • Both in Quito and Cusco, the daistolic blood pressure was the highest when performing vigorous activity and the lowest when resting.
  • The grpah shows the average heart rate of the students whe performing the different activities in both Quito and Cusco
  • For every activity the heart rate was the higher in Cusco.
  • The average heart rate was the lowest when resting and the highest when performing vigorous activity.
CONLCUSIONS
  • We fully confirmed our hypothesis
  • The activities that were higher in difficulty were also the activities that caused a higher blood pressure in both cities
  • All the activities caused a higher blood pressure and heart rate in Cusco than in Quito
  • The results can lead us to safely conclude that places with high altitude may be dangerous for the cardiovascular sytem to visit if the appropriate measures and precautions are not taken.
  • The cardiovascular system has to work extra hard in high altitudes

RECOMMENDATION LETTER

  • Altitude sickness happens when your body cannot obtain enough oxygen.
  • This leads to symptoms such as headache, weakness, dizziness, lack of appetite, hyperventilation and dehydration.
  • Altitude sickness can be treated easily with natural remedies such as ginger
  • Multiple studies suggest ginger decreases risk of diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart malfunctions.
  • Ginger improves blood circulation since it contains chromium magnesium, and zinc, preventing blood from clotting and lowering blood pressure
  • It also helps the respiratory system, making it ideal for high altitudes because it helps expand the lungs
  • Alleviates dizziness and nausea, common symptoms of altitude sickness, and ginger also improves the absorption of essential nutrients.
  • The side effects include gas, heartburn, stomach ache, rashes, and mouth irritation.
  • We encourage people to take natural remedies to fight altitude sickness and ginger makes one of the best options.

creative model

  • Altitude's effects on the human body are short term effects since the body has the capacity of adapting to its environment.
  • Based on the results of our experiment in Quito and Cusco and our previous knowledge on the cardiovascular system, we have created a human model well-suited for high altitudes.
  • To start, the nostrils of our adapted human being are larger since this will help more oxygen to enter the body.
  • Our model has a second diaphragm which will lead to an even larger expansion of the lungs and more air entering the system.
  • It has three lungs instead of two.
  • Having a third lung will accelerate the process of oxygenating blood for the heart to pump to the entire body.
  • Our model has several pulmonary enlarged and strengthened veins and arteries.
  • This means that more blood will be able to go through these vessels, causing a reduction in heart rate and blood pressure.

References

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http://www.livestrong.com/article/264584-heart-rate-high-altitudes/

Zhao, X., Wu, N., Zhu, Q., Gaur, U., Gu, T., & Li, D. (2016). High-altitude adaptation of Tibetan chicken from MT-COI and ATP-6 perspective. Mitochondrial DNA. Part A, 27(5), 3280. doi:10.3109/19401736.2015.1015006

Van Vynckt, V. (2015, September 14). Why do you need to drink a lot of water at high altitudes? Live Strong. Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/435265-why-do-you-need-to-drink-a-lot-of-water-at-a-high-altitude/

BBC. (2017). Charles Darwin: Evolution and the Theory of Our Species. BBC. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/timelines/zq8gcdm

G. (2017). 16 Pros and Cons of Ginger. Retrieved from

http://greengarageblog.org/16-pros-and-cons-of-ginger

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http://www.naturalalternativeremedy.com/27-amazing-health-benefits-of-ginger/

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