One or two times you must have found yourself up above the sea level at a very high altitude. Not basically as a mountain climber but maybe something else must have driven you up to that altitude.
Geography has told us that the higher you leave the ground higher up above sea level the lesser oxygen available for your lungs to take in. In order wards, the higher the altitude the lesser the oxygen available for us to breathe in.
Let us use a mountain climber as an example. At a certain high altitude, the climber will find it hard to breathe, this is because the amount of oxygen available for him is very little at that altitude compared to the normal amount of oxygen available for him when he was on a level ground.
What is this post trying to let you know? My dear it is actually what happens within your body; i mean how your body actually reacts to normalize your body system and curb the dangerous outcome or effect that this change in environment will actually cause.
So, at this high altitude, the climber’s body sets into a condition called hypoxic condition. And also, due to the inadequate oxygen supply to the muscles and brain, the body automatically triggers the increase in production of red blood cells(erythropoiesis). This process is stimulated by the secretion of erythropoietien from the kidney and also from the liver to the bone marrows which is the production site for red blood cells. The availability of so much red blood cells means the availability of many haemoglobin components which is the red pigment of the blood and also the oxygen carrier compound found in the red blood cells. The haemoglobin consists of two elements which are iron and protein molecules. The iron refers to the haem- which binds with oxygen and deposits it to the fluid that surrounds the cells(Extra .cellular .fluid). While the -globin refers to the protein molecule which binds with CO2 and brings it to the lungs for diffusion and exhalation.
During the hypoxic condition in the climber’s body which is because of the inadequate amount of oxygen available for him. The hypoxia stimulates some chemoreceptors responsible for relaying informations for increase heart rate and respiration. The climber begins to breathe faster and deeper so as to increase cardiac output. This increase in cardiac output ensures that enough blood is supplied to the muscles and brain.
The increase in red blood cell and haemoglobin production increase the Oxygen carrying capacity of the blood and this process is called BLOOD DOPING.
This phenomenon is what i think is the secret behind the athletes from kenyan and other countries located on high topography performing excellently during long distance races. I think this is because there body has adapted to this condition and when they get to sea level they perform better because they obtain more Oxygen more than every other althlete on the track.