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

4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Robert Kwok
Pediatrics
3 doctors agree

In brief: 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.

In brief: 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.
Dr. Robert Kwok
Dr. Robert Kwok
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