26point2
Topic Author
Posts: 895
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:01 am

Density Altitude And Human Performance

Sat Aug 11, 2012 8:28 pm

Apologizing in advance if this is not the right topic/forum/website, but:

As a pilot I understand that Pressure Altitude vs. Temperature = Density Altitude.  I also clearly understand what density altitude does to aircraft performance.

As an athlete I understand that an increase in pressure altitude means a decrease in oxygen and the body's ability to perform at its peak.  No surprise I can't run as fast or as far at 6000' MSL than at Sea Level.

The question I can't answer.. but I know someone out there can.. is this:  Is the body's respiratory system affected by density altitude or does the body only recognize pressure altitude?    

I was pondering this the other day while climbing a very steep mountain on my bike at 3000' MSL and 100F.  My lungs and heart felt more like they would at 6000' MSL at that moment.  Could have been having an off-day or could have been overheating...but still thinking about the question and I can't figure it out.
 
imiakhtar
Posts: 611
Joined: Sun Apr 02, 2006 3:35 am

RE: Density Altitude And Human Performance

Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:55 am

Quoting 26point2 (Thread starter):
Is the body's respiratory system affected by density altitude or does the body only recognize pressure altitude?

In this context, both of those terms can be used synonymously, ie their effects on the human body are the same.

Prior to reading the links below, I suggest you use wiki to acquaint yourself with partial pressures, diffusion and carotid bodies:

Limits of human lung function at high altitude

The lung at high altitude

MEDICAL PROBLEMS IN HIGH MOUNTAIN
ENVIRONMENTS
A Handbook for Medical Officers
U S ARMY RESEARCH INSTITUTE
OF
ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE


Quoting 26point2 (Thread starter):
I was pondering this the other day while climbing a very steep mountain on my bike at 3000' MSL and 100F. My lungs and heart felt more like they would at 6000' MSL at that moment.

You ascended too quickly.
Whatever happened to Leon Trotsky?

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