Living at high altitudes good for health

People living in mountains live longer and have a lower risk of heart disease.

Researchers from the University of Athens, Greece found that mountain dwelling is good for the heart and longevity, Health News reported.

People living at higher altitude have lower odds of dying from heart disease than those closer to sea level, even if they have factors that could increase their risk.

Residence in mountainous areas seems to have a protective effect from total and coronary mortality.

The investigators suspect that the increased exercise from walking up mountainous terrain gives the heart a good workout and enables it to cope with lower levels of oxygen.

The researchers studied the health records and death rates of 1,150 Greeks who lived in three villages near Athens over 15 years.

One village was 1,000 yards above sea level and the other two were in low-lying areas. Although men and women living in the mountainous village had higher blood pressure rates and other risk factors than people in the other villagers, they had a lower rate of death from heart disease and other causes after a 15 year follow-up. The News

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