Growing up in a high altitude area may lower chronic disease risk, study finds

The Mosuo, a Tibetan-descended population living in the mountains of Southwest China, were found to be at lower risk for hypertension and diabetes-associated anemia than low-altitude Han populations.

(CNN)Living near the Tibetan Plateau, often referred to as "The Roof of the World," may have more benefits than scenic pleasure.

A new study has found that humans native to high-altitude areas may have a lower risk for chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes-associated anemia -- and the reason why may have to do with the way their bodies have adapted to living with less oxygen.
The research, which published Thursday in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, found that the Mosuo people who live near the Tibetan Plateau in Central and East Asia have very different chronic disease risk, possibly due to genetic adaptations to prevent hypoxia, a condition where the body's tissues are deprived of a sufficient supply of oxygen from the air.
    Researchers thought these genetic adaptations might also reduce the Mosuos' risk for other chronic conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes-associated anemia.
    After studying the Mosuo, a Tibetan-descended population living in the Hengduan Mountains of Southwest China at an elevation of about 8,530 feet, the researchers learned they were right. Despite lifestyle factors that would ordinarily increase a person's risk for such conditions, the