low barometric pressure and decrease in available oxygen

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by TNhayley, Apr 10, 2003.

  1. TNhayley

    TNhayley New Member

    Anyone ever heard anything about a link between low barometric pressure and a decrease in available oxygen before? I wonder if this might be part of why we have such a hard time with incoming storms, etc. I found this at emedicine:

    "Moderate altitude is defined as 5,000-10,000 feet above sea level. Migration in the United States to the western mountain states has increased the number of children living at moderately high altitudes. In isolated geographic areas of the world adaptation to altitude has occurred over multiple generations. However, the population living in the United States is genetically mixed and has a varied response to the added stress of altitude-induced hypoxia.

    As the altitude increases, the barometric pressure decreases. This fall in the barometric pressure affects the partial pressure of available oxygen.

    The percentage of oxygen remains stable at about 21%. At sea level, the partial pressure of oxygen available in the environment is equal to 0.21 times the barometric pressure (760 mm Hg), or 159 mm Hg. After saturation with water and expired CO2, the partial pressure of alveolar O2 (PAO2) is 103 mm Hg, as calculated by the following equation:


    PAO2 = FiO2 (PB - PH2O) - PACO2 [FiO2 + (1 - FiO2/R)]
    PB is the ambient barometric pressure, PH2O is the pressure exerted by water vapor at body temperature, FiO2 is the fraction of inspired oxygen, PACO2 is the alveolar carbon dioxide pressure, and R is the respiratory exchange quotient.

    The decrease in barometric pressure with increasing altitude results in a fall in the PAO2. The PAO2 decreases from 103 mm Hg at sea level to 81 mm Hg in Denver, Colo (5,280 ft, 1,610 m), and 48 mm Hg at the top of Pikes Peak (14,110 ft, 4,300 m). In mountain areas popular with vacationers, such as Leadville, Colo (10,200 ft, 3,100 m), the PAO2 is 61 mm Hg.

    Pneumonia, wet lungs at birth, and pulmonary edema can all interfere with the diffusion of oxygen across the alveolocapillary membrane, resulting in an even lower partial pressure of arterial oxygen (PaO2). These changes occur on the steep slope of the oxygen desaturation curve. This results in small changes in the PaO2, causing larger changes in the arterial oxygen saturation (SaO2), or pulse oximetry measurement. In infants and children with pulmonary disease living at moderate altitudes, changes in oxygen saturation can even be observed as the barometric pressure falls with passing storm systems.

    Newborns living at moderate altitudes display remarkably similar oxygen saturations during the first 24-48 hours. In Denver, Colo, newborns younger than 48 hours have saturations of 85-97%, and in Leadville, Colo, saturations during the first 24 hours vary from 85-93%. Afterwards, a wider range is present. This probably reflects a variable adaptive response to the transition from fetal to adult circulation. In Leadville, Colo, saturations in 1-week-old newborns are 83-93% during wakefulness and decrease to 75-86% during quiet sleep. By age 4 months, these values increase to 89-93% and 81-91% during awake and sleeping periods, respectively. Oxygen saturation values for healthy awake infants younger than 2 years are 89-94% in Colorado’s Summit county ski area (9000 ft, 2800 m) and 90-99% in Denver.

    Newborns living at moderate altitudes are often sent home from the hospital on low-flow oxygen (25-50 mL/min by nasal cannula) for 2-6 weeks in an effort to keep the oxygen saturation at an arbitrary level (>90%) for more than 90% of the time. This may be an unnecessary treatment, but it is given to mimic sea level oxygenation and, it is hoped, to promote the transition from fetal to adult physiology. Physicians caring for infants and children with borderline oxygen saturations at their local altitude must consider these changes when advising parents about travel to a higher elevation"

    Interesting, huh?
    Hugs ... Hayley

  2. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    The body learns to be a more efficient oxygen-burning machine. That is why athletes train at high altitude. People who grow up in high altitude areas are more efficient at utilizing what oxygen is available from the air.

    I'm from Denver and grew up in Boulder, which is at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. This area has other problems. The air there is very dry and often polluted. In the wintertime, temperature inversions keep the pollution trapped against the mountains. Pollution at high altitude is much worse on the body than at sea level. The pollution in Denver is much more harmful that the pollution in LA.

    People in the Denver area have a lot of problems with asthma, pneumonia, allergies, bronchitis, and sinusitis. It is caused by a combination of the thin, dry, and polluted air. Older people there are usually hauling their oxygen tanks around with them. When I lived there, I continually suffered from sinusitis, asthma, allergies, and bronchitis. I had pneumonia the last year I lived there. In Florida, except for when the Red Tide is here, I don't suffer from these problems.

    There is less concentration of oxygen in low-pressurized air and this does affect how we feel. This is one reason barometric chambers are so effective in healing.

    According to Dr. Cheney, we can train our bodies to be more efficient at utilizing oxygen by doing a simple breathing exercise. You inhale, taking a deep breath. Pucker your lips and very slowly release the exhale through the mouth against the pressure produced by puckering. The longer one can take in completely exhaling in this manner, the more efficient one gets at using oxygen. It takes some time to build up to this. I do this exercise several times a day. It can be done sitting at a light or when reading or watching TV.

    Perhaps having grown up at high altitude is one reason I don't suffer from the circulation and hypercoagulation problems suffered by many with our illnesses. I do feel better at sea level though.

    Love, Mikie