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The Benefits of Oxygen at High Altitude in Colorado

man hiking in breckenridge colorado

If you’re like most people, you probably think of oxygen as something essential for life. And you’d be right. But what you may not know is that oxygen plays a vital role in your health at high altitudes, too.

For those who enjoy hiking and climbing in areas with higher elevations, like Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, lack of oxygen can quickly lead to headaches and fatigue. In addition, when oxygen levels drop, your body can’t work as efficiently as it does at lower altitudes. Over time, that could lead to more severe health issues.

If you plan a trip to Colorado or are thinking of moving there, it’s crucial to understand oxygen at higher altitudes. Otherwise, you could risk your health by neglecting some precautions.

This article will discuss why oxygen changes in Colorado at different elevations and its impacts on your health. We will also list and explain the benefits of having supplemental oxygen for your next outdoor adventure.

Why Oxygen Changes at High Elevations in Colorado

Oxygen changes in Colorado at different elevations because of the change in pressure.

The atmosphere of the Earth is made up of different layers. The troposphere is the layer closest to the Earth, which reaches up to about 11 miles in altitude from sea level. In this atmospheric zone, oxygen concentrations range from around 21% at sea level to roughly 15% at 10,000 feet above sea level.

As you climb higher into the stratosphere, oxygen concentration drops even further. And by the time you reach about 40,000 feet in altitude, there is very little or no oxygen at all. 

The reason for this has to do with the Earth’s gravitational pull and how it affects air pressure as you go higher and higher into the atmosphere.

While humans need oxygen to survive, just a little bit less can have an impact on how well your body functions at high altitudes.

In Colorado, oxygen levels can drop as much as 5% for every 1,000 feet above sea level. This means that the oxygen effectiveness at the top of Pikes Peak (14,110 feet) is roughly 12.3% – which can put a damper on your hike real fast!

The impact of this decrease in oxygen becomes more pronounced with each passing day.

As you hike or climb in elevation, oxygen density decreases faster than your body can adjust. That’s why it’s recommended that people take a day to acclimate before going on longer hikes above 10,000 feet in altitude. 

This means that if you plan to climb a 14,000-foot mountain in Colorado, you should wait at least 24 hours before hiking high-altitude trails.

Effects of Oxygen Deprivation at High Altitudes

When you lack oxygen at high altitudes, your body begins to have trouble functioning normally. This can be dangerous if you don’t notice it until it’s too late.

As a result, your body goes into emergency mode to sustain itself. That’s why you might experience several different symptoms when you don’t have enough oxygen.

Some of the most common side effects of oxygen deprivation include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Headaches and fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting, and stomach pains
  • Chest pain and upper back pain

In more severe cases, some people can experience high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) and high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE). These conditions are life-threatening if not treated. To avoid these harsh effects, it’s essential to take precautions before hiking in Colorado.

Benefits of Supplemental Oxygen

One way to avoid the effects of low oxygen levels is to have supplemental oxygen available. The use of a portable oxygen concentrator, which pulls in the surrounding air and removes up to 99% of the nitrogen from it, can be a lifesaver.

Investing in supplemental oxygen in Colorado has many benefits:

  • Helps the body operate more efficiently:

With supplemental oxygen, your body gets enough oxygen so it can work more efficiently, and you feel better. In addition, supplemental oxygen allows your body to function closer to how it would perform at sea level – and you don’t have to worry about feeling tired or sick.

  • Enhances athletic performance:

With supplemental oxygen, your body can deliver the oxygen it needs to the muscles and tissues that need it most. 

That means you can run harder and faster for a more extended period – especially in Colorado’s high altitudes where oxygen levels are lower. Improved athletic performance means you get more out of any activity, and it can even help you avoid injury.

  • Increases concentration:

Supplemental oxygen can also help with mental function – helping to improve your cognitive skills and concentration. 

With the right oxygen therapy, you can train harder and longer while staying more alert and focused on the task at hand. In Colorado, that means hiking longer and feeling great while you’re doing it.

  • Relieves stress:

Supplemental oxygen can also help reduce your hormone cortisol levels associated with stress and anxiety. By using a portable oxygen concentrator or oxygen tank regularly, you’ll feel more relaxed while also helping you perform better while you’re active.

  • Provides more energy:

Supplemental oxygen not only allows your body to operate more efficiently, but it can give you the natural high that comes with increased oxygen levels in your body.

Whether at sea level or living at elevation, supplemental oxygen is scientifically proven to provide users with increased energy and mental clarity. This can help you perform better at home and on the road.

Add Oxygen To Your Colorado Lifestyle

Having supplemental oxygen available in Colorado can greatly benefit hikers and active individuals. Being able to breathe well and perform at your best is empowering – and you’ll feel better than ever before as you take advantage of having oxygen with you, wherever you go.

Invest in the best supplemental oxygen concentrators with Peak Oxygen. As experts in oxygen access for those traveling to Colorado, our team can help you access the short and long-term oxygen systems you need. So you can quickly access the oxygen you need – even without a prescription!

Want to learn more? Contact us today to learn how we can help you get the right oxygen therapy in Colorado at the right price.

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