Scientists are beginning to study potential links between where you live and your health. So, what factors of the geographic area where you reside can impact your wellbeing? It turns out that elevation may be more important than we thought.

We’ve listed some mental and physical health benefits associated with higher altitude living.

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DECREASES RISK OF HEART DISEASE

A new study has found that residing at high altitudes could lower your risk of metabolic syndrome which is a combination of factors including high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, increased cholesterol levels, and excess fat around the waist. According to Medical Xpress, researchers at the University of Navarra in Spain studied information submitted by thousands of participants about their health twice-yearly since 1999 to reach this conclusion.

So, what exactly defines high altitude?

“We found that those people living between 457 to 2297 meters, had a lower risk of developing Metabolic Syndrome than those living at sea level (0 to 121 meters)," said researcher Amaya López-Pascual, Medical Xpress reported.

Results of the study were published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology.

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SUPPRESSES HUNGER AND CURBS OBESITY

A 2014 study published in PLOS One found that living at high altitude can suppress hunger by increasing leptin and other hormones involved in appetite control.

Additionally, a recent study — from the same team of researchers as the new findings published in Frontiers in Physiology — found that high altitude living is also associated with lower obesity rates.

panorama Want to live in the mountains? It may improve your health. Photo courtesy of Pixabay

FEWER ADHD DIAGNOSES

University of Utah researchers discovered that the prevalence of ADHD may actually decrease with increasing altitude. The 2015 study links youth residing at high altitudes with significantly lower rates of ADHD.

CONCUSSIONS ARE LESS LIKELY

Back in 2013, researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health found a connection between altitude and brain injuries. Results of a study comparing high school athletes competing at sea-level to students playing at higher altitudes showed that the latter were at a lower risk of getting a concussion, Medical Daily previously reported.

Source: Lopez-Pascual A, Bes-Rastrollo M, Sayón-Orea C, Perez-Cornago A, Pons JJ, et al. Living at a Geographically Higher Elevation Is Associated with Lower Risk of Metabolic Syndrome: Prospective Analysis of the SUN Cohort. Frontiers in Physiology. 2017.

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