Newborns living at high altitudes are up to 37 percent more likely to die than babies living in low-lying areas. This is the conclusion reached by scientists from Ecuador.
According to experts, about 140 million people around the world live at an altitude of more than 2500 meters above sea level. These conditions are characterized by a lack of oxygen, intense solar radiation, low temperatures and humidity, and less fertile soils compared to low altitudes. In addition, in such an area, as a rule, health care is less developed and social inequality is more pronounced.
It is known that mortality under the age of five is 45.1 percent of all child mortality. Living at a high altitude, the body of a pregnant woman experiences a lack of iron, vitamins A and D, iodine, all kinds of consequences of a lack of oxygen in the blood. All this can lead to a slowdown in fetal growth and the birth of a premature baby.
Scientists from the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador have confirmed that being at high altitude is associated with increased mortality at an early age. This is especially true for infants at risk for various diseases. The researchers published their findings in the journal PLOS One. Data on deaths of children up to 28 days of life was taken from the database of the Ministry of Health of Ecuador, they covered deaths from January 2014 to September 2017.
In general, the analysis concerned 3,016 people. Scientists have shown that babies living at an altitude of 80 to 2500 meters have a 20 percent increased risk of dying compared to those living at sea level. For those who are constantly at an altitude of 2500 to 2750 meters, this figure was estimated at 32 percent, and for those living at an altitude of over 2750 meters - at 37 percent.