High Altitude’s Never-Ending Love For Hypoglycemia

High Altitude and Low Blood Sugar

On trail to Mt. St. Vrain in the Rocky Mountain National Park

2 days. 8 low blood sugars. The numbers tell the story: the higher you climb, the lower you fall. We all enjoy good paradox, right?

Am I a mountain man? No, partly because it takes me 3 weeks to grow a 5 o’clock shadow, and I spend the majority of my life at sea level. Oxygen likes to have a good time at sea level. It glides into my lungs with relative ease, slips into my blood, and enjoys homeostasis. At high elevations, especially those approaching 10,000 feet, oxygen gets depressed. It hides out with its cats and starts crocheting. In response to this hermitism, the heart works double time. Being that the heart is a relatively selfish organ in its oxygen (and subsequently glucose) use, it singlehandedly elevates our metabolism, by 10-20% at my best guess. Continue reading