High-altitude adaptation in humans: from genomics to integrative physiology
Villafuerte, Francisco C., and Noemí Corante. Chronic mountain sickness: clinical aspects, etiology, management, and treatment. High Alt Med Biol. 17:61-69, 2016.-Millions of people worldwide live at a high altitude, and a significant number are at risk of developing Chronic Mountain Sickness (CMS), a progressive incapacitating syndrome caused by lifelong exposure to hypoxia. CMS is characterized by severe symptomatic excessive erythrocytosis (EE; Hb ≥19 g/dL for women and Hb ≥21 g/dL for men) and accentuated hypoxemia, which are frequently associated with pulmonary hypertension. In advanced cases, the condition may evolve to cor pulmonale and congestive heart failure. Current knowledge indicates a genetic predisposition to develop CMS. However, there are important risk factors and comorbidities that may trigger and aggravate the condition. Thus, appropriate medical information on CMS is necessary to provide adequate diagnosis and healthcare to high-altitude inhabitants. After reviewing basic clinical aspects of CMS, including its definition, diagnosis, and common clinical findings, we discuss aspects of its etiology, and address its epidemiology, risk factors, and treatment.