Altitude represents an extreme environment that emphasizes capacities and limits of adaptation of the human being . The reduction in the amount of oxygen available at altitude makes this environment a true open-air laboratory.
The lower availability of oxygen at altitude represents a major challenge for the organism, either for lowland residents traveling for a few days or weeks or for people permanently living at high altitude such as sherpas or Andeans thanks to their adaptation to the environment including genetic modification.
If the human body is able to develop some effective adaptations to counter the effects of hypoxia, it also can induce discomfort, symptoms or even be fatal.
The high altitude population thanks to their adapting to their environment including genetics which they have developed over generations are particularly remarkable and are an important source of scientific inspiration.
However, a significant percentage (10-20%) of individuals among these peoples cannot tolerate hypoxia and develop symptoms corresponding to chronic mountain sickness, which can sometimes lead to complications and death.
A better understanding of this adaptation and maladaptation should improve the ability to tolerate less oxygen and also to identify the limits of human adaptations.
This will provide a critical insight of specific pathologies of the population living in high altitude but also for patients suffering of the lower ability of oxygen. (pulmonary diseases for example).
As it unfolds the medical , social and human issues, it will provide a broader and extanted view of living at altitude.