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Lack of prominent compensatory polycythemia in traditional native Andeans living at 4,200 meters


, : Lack of prominent compensatory polycythemia in traditional native Andeans living at 4,200 meters. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 61(3): 355-366

Red blood cell count (RBC), hemoglobin concentration ([Hb]) and hematocrit (Hct) were measured in 303 male Quechua children and adults, aged 6 to 57 years, living a lifestyle as traditional pastoralists and horticulturalists at a mean altitude of 4,200 m in the Southern Peruvian Andes. Values for RBC, [Hb], and Hct increased with age from middle childhood to young adulthood. However, among adults there was no significant association between age and any of these three parameters. Overall, there was approximately a 10-12% increase in the RBC, [Hb], and Hct above sea-level norms for all age groups. Mean corpuscular volume (MCV) and mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH) showed a slight but significant increase with age in children and adolescents, but the mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) did not. We conclude that the study of highland Quechua Indians, living a traditional lifestyle as pastoralists and horticulturalists, does not support the long-held belief that altitude hypoxia provokes a dramatic compensatory polycythemia in healthy Andeans.

US$19.90

PMID: 6614150

DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.1330610310


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