The role of menopause in the development of chronic mountain sickness

Fabiola León-Velarde, Marco Antonio Ramos, José Antonio Hernández, Diego De Idiáquez, Luisa Silvia Muñoz, Angelo Gaffo, Sharon Córdova, Dante Durand, C. Carlos Monge

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78 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to investigate the role of menopause in the appearance of the physiopathological sequence that leads to chronic mountain sickness (CMS) in a high-altitude female population. The females studied are 30-54 yr old (n = 152) and have permanent residence in Cerro de Pasco (Pasco, Peru; 4,300 m). The sample was divided into postmenopausal and premenopausal groups for comparison. Blood oxygen saturation (Sa(O2)), excessive erythrocytosis (EE, measured by the level of hematocrit (Hct)], peak expiratory flow rates (PEFR), and a score that represents the main signs and symptoms of CMS (CMS(score)) were measured. Postmenopausal women had higher Hct (50.2 ± 4.04 vs. 47.4 ± 4.13%, P < 0.001), lower Sa(O2) (81.9 ± 4.12 vs. 84.7 ± 3.14%, P < 0.001) and PEFR values (489 ± 101 vs. 534 ± 90 l/min, P < 0.02), and slightly higher CMS(score) (19.1 ± 3.37 vs. 17.9 ± 3.48, P < 0.06) than premenopausal women. The prevalence of women with EE (EE - Hct >56%) was found to be 8.8%. Forty-five percent of the postmenopausal subjects presented a high CMS(score) (>21), whereas only 22% of the premenopausal subjects presented this high value (P < 0.02). We can therefore conclude that menopause may represent a contributing factor for the development of CMS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R90-R94
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number1 41-1
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Andes
  • hematocrit
  • high altitude
  • oxygen saturation
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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