Researchers from Triemli Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland have discovered that flying or traveling to high-altitude locations seems to increase the risk for flares in people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This discovery was presented on 5/20/2012 at Digestive Disease Week at San Diego Convention Center.
“Our most striking finding was a statistically significant correlation between the occurrence of flares and a journey to a high altitude, particularly in Crohn’s disease, but also in ulcerative colitis,” said lead author Stephan R. Vavricka, MD, from Triemli Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland.
Doctors examined 103 patients with IBD.
52 patients with flares were compared with 51 patients in remission. Those who had flares had flights or traveled to areas above 6,500 feet. They complained of having a flare within a day to a week after arriving to skiing resorts or high altitude mountains areas.
Galina’s Conclusion: My theory is that at high-altitude less oxygen is available and our bodies do not get enough oxygen delivered to our tissues. That can result in a condition called hypoxia (oxygen deprivation), which may trigger gut inflammation. So, if you suffer with IBD travel via car, train or bus and avoid high-altitude locations if possible.