Why Does it Become Difficult to Breathe at High Altitudes – HowFlux

Why Does it Become Difficult to Breathe at High Altitudes

why does it become difficult to breathe at high altitudes


Breathing keeps us alive. We take oxygen and release carbon dioxide from our mouth during this process. The atmospheric pressure, condition of breathing system of the body and other such factors bring it possible to reality and we ultimately die when there is a lack of breathable air. When we reach a mountain with high altitude, we experience a lack of air such as in case when we try to climb Mount Everest or other such places with high altitudes. Most of the old aged people and people with breathing difficulty suffer very much difficulty in climbing such mountains. Even the airplanes are fixed up with oxygen masks to assist people with breathing difficulties like patients of Asthma. Some fall ill when they have not even completed half of their journey. Many reasons can be given to this.

why does it become difficult to breathe at high altitudes

Why Does it Become Difficult to Breathe at High Altitudes

1. Breathing at sea level:-

When we are at sea level or near to sea level, the atmospheric is around 14.7 pounds per square inch. There is a selectively permeable membrane inside body attached with lungs, which is responsible for the purification of air and making it finally reach the blood. This pressure is bearable for the human body and it makes oxygen easily able to pass through this membrane which is why it is easy for us to breathe.

2. Breathing at high altitudes:-

Unlike breathing at sea level, when we breathe at some place with high altitude, the air pressure is comparatively low and even much lower at some such places. The air thus faces difficulty in reaching our body system and there is always a fear of death because of Asphyxia which is another name of death because of suffocation.

3. Breathing at very much higher altitudes:-

At high altitudes, our breath gets faster and deeper. This also has a reason besides its happening. Actually, we will suffocate if our breaths do not get faster and deeper. The body gives us a signal like this. The meaning of this signal is that body is trying to take oxygen from the atmosphere and breath is getting faster as body is finding less oxygen available. It is a signal that we should move to a safer place. This is done in order to increase the flow of fresh air past the blood to make it able for the body to survive longer and to keep our lungs and heart working.

4. The mechanism behind:-

Science has an explanation and mechanism for each and every phenomenon on this earth. Same is the case with our breathing process. When an oxygen molecule is taken by the blood, it is rapidly replaced by a new one. This means that extra oxygen is always available to be taken by the blood.

On the other hand, we eliminate carbon dioxide from the body which is constantly produced in our body system. Lungs are the body organ responsible for this elimination of Carbon Dioxide. Lungs allow it to diffuse into the fresh air in the lungs, which increases the flow of fresh air in this organ. When there is a lack of oxygen in the air, there is no surplus oxygen molecule available with the system and thus our breath is likely to get faster and deeper. The same situation arises when you are in space. As there is no atmosphere, there is no oxygen and thus the astronauts have to carry special suits with oxygen cylinders in order to survive in space.


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