ALTITUDE PHYSIOLOGY

PRESENTED BY Dick Williams

REFERENCES
FM 1-301

Introduction
Atmosphere Composition Circulation System Respiratory System Hypoxia Hyperventilation Dysbarism Conclusion

Atmosphere Composition
a mixture of gases that surround the earth from it¶s surface to approximately 1,200 miles above the surface. 
Composition: Layers Definition:

a mixture of water vapor and gases.

of the atmosphere: Troposphere, Tropopause, Stratosphere, Ionosphere, Exosphere.

Description of Atmospheric Layers
Troposphere:  closest to the earth¶s surface extends to an altitude of approx. 30,000 ft. @ poles and 60,000 ft @ the equator. standard temp. lapse rate is about 2 degrees for each 1,000 foot increase in altitude (sea level = 15 degrees and standard pressure of 29.92) Tropopause: constant temp. varies in width gradually increases in alt from the polar region to the equator.

600 miles above the surface protects from ultraviolet rays Exosphere extends from the ionosphere to about 1.Description of Layers cont. Stratosphere extends upward of the tropopause to 50 miles above the surface constant temp. 55 degrees Celsius absence of water vapor and turbulence Ionosphere extends from surface to approx.200 miles above the surface this outer fringe becomes a vacuum of space .

These layers are then divided further into three other categories referred to as the Physiological Zones´ of the atmosphere. Humans can not adapt to these changes independent of life support systems. which are based on their resultant effect on the human body. The .Quick notes about the layers of the atmosphere layers of the atmosphere vary in temperature and pressure.

Physiological Zones    Efficient Zone Deficient Zone Space Equivalent Zone .

Efficient Zone      Extends from sea level to 10.000 feet (troposphere) humans are physiologically adapted to this zone also where Army aviators conduct the majority of their operations changes in pressure in this zone can cause sinus and/or middle ear discomfort oxygen levels are sufficient for healthy person w/o the aid of protective equipment .

000 ft the barometric pressure drops so significantly that noticeable physiological problems will occur in this range unless supplemental oxygen is used this is the region where hypoxia and trapped gas expansion will occur Dalton¶s Law   .Deficient Zone   Extends from 10.000 ft to 50.

000 ft.Space Equivalent Zone (Lethal Zone)     Extends upward from 50.6 ° basically your blood boils and you and die. it is the lethal zone because without supplemental oxygen death would occur rapidly due to the reduction of atmospheric pressure the boiling point of bodily fluids is 98. .

Dalton¶s Law of Partial Pressures Definition: the pressure exerted by a mixture of nonreacting gas is equal to the sum of the partial pressures of the separate components.Pn % of atmospheric concentration total atmospheric pressure of the individual gas x @ a given altitude 100 = Partial pressure of the individual gases . Formula: Pt= P1 +P2«. Each gaseous mixture is independent of other gases in the mixture.

) Significance  The percentages of oxygen and nitrogen in air remain constant however their partial pressure will decrease in direct proportion to the total atmospheric pressure.Dalton¶s Law (cont. (basically there is less oxygen available at higher altitudes)  the total atmospheric pressure exerted on the body decreases with altitude .

Dalton¶s Law (cont)  the total atmospheric pressure exerted on the body decreases with altitude the loss of available oxygen may not be obvious at low altitudes but the effects are present.  The loss of oxygen can degrade night vision acuity at altitudes as low as 4.  Hypoxia  .000 ft.

body heat exchange. It regulates the equilibrium of fluids in the body. body excretion and provides cell nutrition and oxygen.Circulatory System The circulatory system consists of all structures that transport blood throughout the body. It also regulates body chemical balance. .

Components of the Circulatory System kArteries are vessels that move blood from the heart to the body tissue are vessels that return blood to the heart kVeins kCapillaries connect arteries and veins and contact most of the tissues of the body transferring Oxygen and Carbon dioxide. nutrients and waste products between the cells and blood. .

Components and functions of Blood Red Blood Cells. Hemoglobin is the iron-containing compound in every red blood cell responsible for the oxygen uptake of the cells produced in bone marrow production of red blood cells is affected by environment . If this saturation is not maintained than than folks will begin to suffer from lack of oxygen.transport 100% of all oxygen in humans.

) White Blood Cells.their main function is to fight infection and inflammation within the body.  have no hemoglobin  widely distributed in the body and move between body cells and blood  their small size allows them to pass through capillaries .Components and functions of Blood (cont.

Produced in bone marrow Plasma .it¶s most important function is to transport carbon dioxide in the blood 55% of whole blood the fluid part of the blood composed of water protein.small irregular shaped bodies that aid in coagulating the blood and maintaining the circulatory sys.) Platelets.Components and functions of Blood (cont. and salts yellowish in color .

They are external and internal respiration. Functions:  oxygen intake  carbon dioxide removal  body heat balance  body chemical balance . There are two processes by which this occurs.Respiration Definition: the process by which living organisms exchange gases with the environment.

Functions of the Respiratory System Oxygen intake.  all body cells require oxygen to metabolize food Carbon Dioxide Removal.carbon dioxide is a byproduct of the metabolic process.  it is dissolved in the plasma  transported from the tissues to the lungs for release .oxygen enters the system through the respiratory system and is transported by the circulatory system.

 perspiration and evaporation aid in this process  warm air that is released into the environment via the lungs also aids in this process  basically.6 degrees. the respiratory system warms or cools air before it enters our system .Functions of the Respiratory System Body heat balance.since we¶re warm blooded critters we have to maintain our body temperature at or around 98.

a delicate balance exists between the amounts of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body.  The uptake of O2 and CO2 takes place through super complicated chemical changes.  As these chemical pathways are disrupted the chemical balance of the body changes  the equilibrium that the human body is maintained in is a very narrow band  if there is too much CO2 present in the system the pH level will increase making blood acidic .Functions of the Respiratory System Body chemical balance.

Functions of the Respiratory System Body chemical balance (cont.)  the brain will perceive this imbalance  chemical receptors then respond by triggering the respiratory system to help return the levels to normal limits .

 active phase. .exhalation Internal respiration.Processes of respiration External respiration.in this process the lungs are ventilated during inhalation and exhalation and gases are transferred through the lungs to the bloodstream.gases are transported to and from the body tissues by the blood and chemical changes take place within the tissue cells to metabolize oxygen.inhalation  passive phase.

windpipe .  primarily humidifies and warms the air entering the respiratory system Trachea.connects the back of throat to the nasal and oral cavities.includes the nasal cavities and mouth  ciliated hair cells work as filters in the nasal cavities  air entering through the nasal cavity is filtered better than air entering through the mouth Pharynx .Pieces & Parts of the Respiratory System Oral -nasal passage.

tiny cells located in the lung tissue.  movement of CO2 and O2 occurs as a result of pressure differentials  movement is based on the law of gaseous diffusion which states that gas always moves from an area of high pressure to an area of lower pressure. .  O2 saturation takes place because of as the blood traverses the capillary networks of alveoli the oxygen is going from high pressure to low pressure.Pieces & Parts of the Respiratory System Alveoli. This is where the actual gaseous exchange occurs between CO2 and O2. they are surrounded by a network of capillaries that join veins and arteries.

Pieces & Parts of the Respiratory System Alveoli the amount of O2 and CO2 transferred from across the alveolar-capillary membrane into the blood depends primarily on alveolar pressure in relation to venous pressure of oxygen  this is important because of the pressure differential which causes the O2 saturation on the blood.  decrease in saturation may lead to hypoxia .

Hypoxia Definition: a condition resulting from inefficient amounts of oxygen in the body. Major classifications of hypoxia:  Hypoxic hypoxia  Hypemic hypoxia  Stagnant hypoxia  Histotoxic hypoxia .

 associated with high altitudes Hypemic Hypoxia.k.insufficient oxygen in the air.Hypoxia Hypoxic Hypoxia .a. and sulfa drugs can also cause this type of hypoxia .  caused by a reduction in the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood  blood loss or anemia  carbon monoxide.a. anemic hypoxia. nitrites.

poisons interfere with the cell¶s ability to use an adequate supply of oxygen .  heart conditions  arterial spasm  occlusion of blood vessel  venous pooling that occurs during positive-G maneuvers Hystotoxic Hypoxia. narcotics.oxygen carrying capacity is adequate but the circulation is bad.interference with the use of O2 by body tissues  use of alcohol.Hypoxia Stagnant Hypoxia.

Hypoxia .Signs and symptoms Symptoms  air hunger  apprehension or anxiety  fatigue  nausea  headaches  dizziness  euphoria  belligerence  blurred vision  tunnel vision  numbness  tingling  denial .

Signs and symptoms Signs  hyperventilation  cyanosis  mental confusion  poor judgment  muscle coordination  seizure .Hypoxia .

the circulatory and respiratory systems are working to compensate for the reduction in available oxygen  10.000 ft  decrease in night vision at 4.  @ 12. respiration and cardiac output .same as the efficient zone.000 ft.000 ft the effects on the nervous system become apparent  increase in blood pressure.  sea level to 10.000 ft .15.ooo ft  hemoglobin is saturated Compensatory stage.Stages of Hypoxia Indifferent stage .

peripheral and central vision are impaired and visual acuity is diminished. after 10-15 minutes impaired efficiency is obvious  crew members may become drowsy  coordination begins to slip  errors in judgment  hemoglobin saturation is 80-90% Disturbance stage. hearing is one of the last senses to go .Stages of Hypoxia Compensatory stage cont.  hemoglobin saturation is between 70 and 80%  Senses.physiological responses can no longer compensate for the oxygen deficiency. touch and pain is reduced.

aggressiveness. ental processes.release of basic personality traits similar to being drunk ( euphoria. and depression).  Psychomotor function.  Personality traits. overconfidence.the skin turns a bluish color because O2 molecules fail to attach themselves to hemoglobin .intellectual impairment is an early sign.Stages of Hypoxia Disturbance stage cont.muscular coordination is decreased. stammering and writing illegibly are also typical of this stage of Hypoxia  Cyanosis. thinking is slow and calculations are unreliable.

dizziness and unconsciousness occur. and death are possible .Stages of Hypoxia Critical stage. Subsequently mental confusion. and coordination deteriorate.  20.000 ft and above  hemoglobin saturation is less than 70%  convulsions.within 3-5 minutes judgment.

Prevention and Treatment of Hypoxia Prevention  Limited time at altitude  use of supplemental oxygen  use of pressurized cabins  physical fitness Treatment  100% oxygen  descend to a safe altitude .

Causes:  emotions.Hyperventilation Definition: an excessive rate and depth of respiration leading to abnormal loss of CO2 from the blood. such as. apprehension. fear. and excitement  pressure breathing  hypoxia Symptoms:  Tingling sensations  muscle spasms (only symptom different from hypoxia)  hot cold sensations  visual impairment .

Hyperventilation Symptoms:  Tingling sensations  muscle spasms (only symptom different from hypoxia)  hot cold sensations  visual impairment  dizziness  unconsciousness Why these symptoms?  stores of O2 are depleted  blood is diffusing so rapidly that the alveoli can not keep up and the body chemical balance is thrown out of calibration .

Additional quick notes about Hyperventilation      it can incapacitate a perfectly healthy crewmember can be confused with hypoxia to prevent it from occurring try not to panic and control the rate and depth of respiration to correct it descend below 20.00 feet and administer 100% oxygen if available if you¶re above 10.000 feet assume it is hypoxia .

excluding hypoxia. of a pressure differential between absent barometric pressure and the pressure of gases in the body.Dysbarism Definition: syndrome resulting from the effects . Types:  trapped  evolved .

ears. Under constant temperature and barometric pressure the volume of wet gas is greater than the volume of the dry gas . if the escape of that gas is impeded than the pressure will build up and eventually cause pain in the abdomen.  Dry gas conditions.under conditions of constant temperature and increased altitude the volume of gas expands as the pressure decreases.the volume of gases is inversely proportionate to the pressure exerted upon it.gases within the body are saturated with water vapor. and teeth.  Boyle¶s Law . sinuses.Trapped gas dysbarism During ascent the free gas normally present in body cavities expands.  Wet gas conditions.

maintain a good diet. avoid bubbly beverages prior to flight. or descend to a lower altitude if pain persists and mission permits . don¶t chew gum during ascent  to treat it in flight let that gas blow on out.Trapped gas dysbarism Gastrointestinal tract  the stomach and intestine contain gas which expand during ascent causing gas pains  to prevent it.

(Eustachian tube)  to treat it in flight stop the descent and attempt a valsalva. if ascending try to do so at a slower rate.Trapped gas dysbarism Ear blocks  air trapped in the middle ear. Sinus blocks  avoid flying with a cold or congestion  try to slow descent and valsalva  attempt to equalize the ears / sinus frequently .

 change in barometric pressure can cause a toothache  avoid flying following dental restoration when in need of restoration  occurs between 5.Trapped gas dysbarism Barodontalgia.trapped gas disorder of the teeth.000 ft  descent almost always relieves the pain .000 and 15.

the amount of gas dissolved in a solution is directly proportional to the pressure of the gas over the solution (soda pop bottle) .  Henry¶s law.Evolved Gas Dysbarism (decompression sickness) Evolved gas disorders occur in flight as a direct result of the reduction in atmospheric pressure.

Evolved Gas Dysbarism (decompression sickness) When barometric pressure decreases the partial pressures of atmospheric gases also decrease proportionately leaving the tissue temporarily saturated as the body responds to the saturation by trying to transport the excess gases to the lungs however it is inefficient and causes the evolved gas disorders. .

Four types of evolved gas disorders     Bends Paresthesia Chokes CNS disorder .

exercise. duration and repeated exposure are factors that increase the risk of having an evolved gas disorder pressurized cabins and denitrogenation are recommended for prevention if it occurs. altitude. get the individual to ground level immediately. body fat.Quick notes about evolved gas disorders  Rate of ascent. give him 100% O2 seek medical attention and compression therapy   .

prevention. and zones) Circulation (pieces. treatment) Dysbarism (trapped and evolved. symptoms. treatment) .Conclusion Atmosphere Composition( layers. altitudes. functions) Hypoxia (types. parts. symptoms. prevention. treatment) Hyperventilation (description. and operation) Respiratory ( pieces. parts.

Questions? .