What effect does altitude have on a person with sickle cell trait and why?

Sickle in low oxygen. A person with sickle cell trait only, is ok at sea level, but at high altitudes can get sickling in his red blood cells due to the lower concentration of oxygen at high altitudes. The problem of sickled cells clogging off the spleen is rare, but has happened to some people exercising above 10, 000 feet. Good hydration and avoiding over-exertion might decrease the chances of problems starting.

Related Questions

I have sickle cell trait, I heard being at high altitudes could be dangerous, Can taking a 16+hour flight harm me?

Possibly.. Great question. An airplane flight puts you at the equivalent of 8 to 10 thousand feet of elevation depending on the plane. That can cause sickling in patients with sickle cell trait. Ask your doctor whether you should wear oxygen for the flight. Stay very well-hydrated, and keep warm with blankets and layers! If you have trouble on the flight, oxygen is the key.