Location, Location, Location: Reducing the Risk of Heart Disease

If you’re afraid of heights – that’s too bad. A new study, published by the journal Frontiers in Physiology, says that the higher up you live, the less likely you are to suffer from Metabolic Syndrome. People with Metabolic Syndrome have high levels of fat, blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol which often leads to other health issues such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

According to Pedro González-Muniesa, associate professor at the University of Navarra and co-senior author of the study, living at higher altitudes may reduce the risk of heart problems because of the lack of oxygen.

Researchers used data from the Spanish SUN project for which thousands of healthy people reported on their health twice a year since 1999. This data showed that despite family history, they were less likely to develop Metabolic Syndrome.

J. Alfredo Martinez, professor at the University of Navarra and co-senior author of the study, said that all of the data was self-reported which sometimes causes problems. Also, conditions that weren’t considered like humidity, temperatures, climate and pollution may have affected the results.

So if you’re wondering if you should move to the mountains for the sake of your health, it may be wise to wait for more studies on high-altitude living.

This study was funded by Spanish Government Carlos III Health Institute Centre of Biomedical Research Network, European Regional Development Fund, the Navarra Regional Government and the University of Navarra.


abstract written by Ms. Katherine Heighway, University of Texas
medically reviewed by Dr. Robert Carlson, M.D.