Hypoxia at High Altitudes Linked to Insulin Resistance

  • Studies were conducted on the Mount Everest to explore the link between hypoxia (low oxygen levels in the body) to the development of insulin resistance (where cells fail to respond to insulin).
  • Insulin regulates blood sugar levels as increases sugar levels are toxic and may lead to type II diabetes.
  • It was found that many markers of insulin resistance were increased after sustained exposure (6-8 weeks) to hypoxia at high altitude and this was connected to elevated blood levels of markers of inflammation and oxidative stress.
  • Glucose control, body weight changes and inflammation biomarkers of 24 people were assessed at Everest Base Camp at an altitude of 5,300m. Half of them proceeded to climb the mountain to a height of 8,848m, where measurements were taken again.
  • This will provide critical insights into hypoxia and human performance at extreme altitude, and help better the care of patients where the important problem is hypoxia.
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Exams Perspective:

  1. What is Hypoxia?
  2. What is Insulin and Insulin resistance?
  3. What is diabetes?