Objectives To investigate the effect of obesity on subjects with acute high—altitude exposure.
Methods A total of 39 obese and 43 non-obese young-middle aged male subjects were enrolled in this study. Each subject completed an AMS (acute mountain sickness) self-report questionnaire at sea level and after ascending high-altitude 12 hours and 24 hours. Weight and height were measured and BM1 was calculated. Vital capacity of lungs was measured. Venous blood was sampled for measuring haemoglobin at baseline. Arterial blood was taken for evaluating arterial oxygen saturation (SO2), arterial oxygen pressure (PaO2) and arterial carbon dioxide pressure (PaCOz) at baseline and 24 hours after ascending high-altitude.
Results No statistical differences were found between groups at age, haemoglobin and vital capacity (P > 0.05). BMI in the two groups was significantly different because it is the cut—off point of grouping. At sea level, no statistical differences were found between groups at SOz, PaOz, PaCOz but 24 h after ascending high-altitude, SO2, PaO2 were much lower and PaCO2 was significantly higher in obese group than those in nonobese group (P < 0.001).
Conclusions Obesity is an important risk factor in the development of acute high-altitude disease.