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Old 01-11-2019, 03:10 AM
 
Location: Aurora, CO
56 posts, read 22,916 times
Reputation: 95

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As in front range levels (~5-7K ft) compared to sea level. I've been living in Aurora since August, and also lived in Denver for about a year from 08-09. Didn't really notice anything back then. But lately, having gone to sea level to visit family in NYC and other parts of the northeast, I started noticing things:

I had recurring nosebleeds the last 3-4 winters in a row, and a couple before that (~2011-12), and so far this year that hasn't happened, which seems kinda backwards. I'm wondering if that has more to do with differences in indoor heating though? The drastic change from from cold and clammy outside to overheated NYC apartments where you can't control your thermostat. They often woke me in the middle of the night, which makes laundry fun.... I was also congested for most of the time I was away, especially in the mornings.

Skin: People (mostly women) keep complaining about their skin and/or hair getting dried out. So maybe that is a more gendered thing. But I've always had a bit of an adult acne problem. It's been a lot more manageable lately, but it seems like every time I go back east, I get acne breakouts. I think the sun exposure here is a preventive? Even with multiple acne based routines a day, I would still have trouble keeping up with playing whack-a-zit, not to mention scars, one fades a new one arrives. It's nice not feeling like I look 15 everywhere I go.

Breathing: I was diagnosed with panic disorder in 2011. Supposedly people with PD are hypersensitive to higher than normal CO2 in the air, and a general sense that they can't breathe (as well as dizziness, nausea... symptoms similar to altitude sickness, actually). This kinda ties in with the overheating issue, because places feel overheated and just... I dunno, claustrophobic and lacking in oxygen. Seems to happen more often on the east coast.

I've never had the best aerobic endurance, so I can't say anything either way, just all around mediocre.

Air pressure changes: Ears popping like crazy on the descent into NYC. Then I went with my immediate family to Niagara Falls for Christmas and my ears wouldn't stop popping every 5 seconds in both directions between there and NYC. Which is at most an absolute altitude change of 2k somewhere in the middle of the state, and then a slight drop again going towards the falls. No one else in my family was affected that much.

Then I flew back here and got a bit of it on takeoff, but absolutely nothing on the descent into DEN.

Lightheadedness: Several times during the holidays, if I sat for extended periods of time (which I do a lot of anyway...hey I have shows to binge watch because I'm in grad school and live under a rock for 9 months/year), I would stand up and get lightheaded, to the point I'd have to grab onto something to not fall over. Which I used to just think was something that happens to people normally, but realized doesn't happen as much here.

So I dunno if this is psychosomatic or what (I am just generally happier living in CO than on the east coast), or is there some biological explanation I'm missing because all the attention goes to "altitude sickness"? Like I don't even think of it as altitude until you're 5 digits high, and rice won't cook in your pot of vapor (this happened to me and a friend I visited once in Breckenridge lol).

The only "bad" thing I noticed was being constantly thirsty when I first moved here, presumably because 95 degree weather with 6% humidity will do that... but I also used to be prone to fainting in the summer in NY....

I didn't notice anything when I first moved here. But now every time I leave...
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Old 01-11-2019, 09:19 AM
Status: "Freedom-Diversity-Unity" (set 11 days ago)
 
Location: Better left unsaid
4,287 posts, read 1,676,066 times
Reputation: 6070
Extreme dryness and solar radiation have been bigger issues to me (nose/sinus difficulties, skin cancer), rather than altitude. My dad though had difficulties breathing when he visited, so he was heavily affected by altitude.
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:20 AM
 
4,540 posts, read 2,298,704 times
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Altitude affects people in various ways, both quantitatively—degree of severity—and qualitatively.

One of the strange and unexpected things I noticed long after I had acclimated to exertion at double-digit elevation was that upon descending and heading home, I would get headaches. When I was not acclimated, I got headaches when ascending, which is typical.

It might be that either way, the effects are from capillaries in the head rapidly expanding OR contracting, due to atmospheric pressure changes.

I have always noticed that mild headaches told me bad weather was coming. Strong low-pressure systems must have triggered them.
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:15 PM
 
Location: Colorado
751 posts, read 392,991 times
Reputation: 871
“Breathing: I was diagnosed with panic disorder in 2011. Supposedly people with PD are hypersensitive to higher than normal CO2 in the air, and a general sense that they can't breathe (as well as dizziness, nausea... symptoms similar to altitude sickness, actually). This kinda ties in with the overheating issue, because places feel overheated and just... I dunno, claustrophobic and lacking in oxygen. Seems to happen more often on the east coast.”

I’ve never heard of CO2 levels being higher at altitude. Is that what you meant?
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Old 01-11-2019, 11:33 PM
 
Location: Washington Park, Denver
6,843 posts, read 6,135,392 times
Reputation: 7244
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDog View Post
“Breathing: I was diagnosed with panic disorder in 2011. Supposedly people with PD are hypersensitive to higher than normal CO2 in the air, and a general sense that they can't breathe (as well as dizziness, nausea... symptoms similar to altitude sickness, actually). This kinda ties in with the overheating issue, because places feel overheated and just... I dunno, claustrophobic and lacking in oxygen. Seems to happen more often on the east coast.”

I’ve never heard of CO2 levels being higher at altitude. Is that what you meant?
I think you guys are all missing the point of this thread. He is saying the thin air affects him positively. He’s saying lower CO2 levels are good for him.
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Old 01-12-2019, 03:49 AM
 
Location: Aurora, CO
56 posts, read 22,916 times
Reputation: 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDog View Post
“Breathing: I was diagnosed with panic disorder in 2011. Supposedly people with PD are hypersensitive to higher than normal CO2 in the air, and a general sense that they can't breathe (as well as dizziness, nausea... symptoms similar to altitude sickness, actually). This kinda ties in with the overheating issue, because places feel overheated and just... I dunno, claustrophobic and lacking in oxygen. Seems to happen more often on the east coast.”

I’ve never heard of CO2 levels being higher at altitude. Is that what you meant?
Generally what they talk about with high CO2 levels implies they are proportionately high vs oxygen.

Carbon Dioxide "Alarm System"

So if you are prone to panic attacks you're more likely to pick up on that and get this sense of suffocation or trouble breathing. I was just making that connection to the idea that there's "less oxygen" at altitude (not technically accurate). And having had people tell me something along the lines of "I feel like when I inhale I'm not getting enough air" when they visit Denver metro. It was something I actually worried would exacerbate the problem the first time I came here. Yet my experience flying back into Denver is basically "wow I can breathe again!"

Last edited by NinjaHitsAWall; 01-12-2019 at 04:07 AM..
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Old 01-12-2019, 04:06 AM
 
Location: Aurora, CO
56 posts, read 22,916 times
Reputation: 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by pikabike View Post
Altitude affects people in various ways, both quantitatively—degree of severity—and qualitatively.

One of the strange and unexpected things I noticed long after I had acclimated to exertion at double-digit elevation was that upon descending and heading home, I would get headaches. When I was not acclimated, I got headaches when ascending, which is typical.

It might be that either way, the effects are from capillaries in the head rapidly expanding OR contracting, due to atmospheric pressure changes.

I have always noticed that mild headaches told me bad weather was coming. Strong low-pressure systems must have triggered them.
It would make sense that it goes both ways. That's what I'd suspect. It's not something that's really ever mentioned though.
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Old 01-12-2019, 06:28 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
4,509 posts, read 4,554,335 times
Reputation: 15950
I used to suffer from the extremely dry air in winter time here in Colorado.

But now I keep two console humidifiers; one in the master bedroom, the other in the family room, running full time.

The humdistats show that I achieve about 35% relative humidity. Keeping it there fixed my dry skin problems and made the house feel warmer.

At work, I'm in a similarly controlled atmosphere in an electronic assembly area.

I highly recommend humidifiers.
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Old 01-12-2019, 02:25 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
2,840 posts, read 1,823,151 times
Reputation: 3104
Sure you can have a positive response to the high altitude and thin dry air. This was the whole premise on sending TB patients to CO a century ago.
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Old 01-13-2019, 01:50 AM
 
Location: South Missouri
81 posts, read 18,561 times
Reputation: 128
I think I may be like you, though my living situation is the other way around. I've lived at around 1500 feet, in a humid region, my whole life. I've always had some breathing issues, namely congestion and occasional shortness of breath, and I always ran out of breath when running. I went to higher elevations for a while last summer, around 7000-10000 feet, and stayed in that range for about a month. Not only did I never have any of the problems most people complain about, I didn't have any of my usual issues. I'd never known what it was like to not be short of breath and to run for as long as I wanted and not be limited by running out of breath. When I went back to what I'm "used" to, sure enough, the problems came back.

So I don't think you're alone. It may or may not be due to altitude or humidity levels, but all I know is, it was better out there.
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