Transplant Athlete
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
  Altitude Simulator Update

I don't have definitive results yet, but I did want to state some observations.
  1. I may be killing myself I don't know. The system uses plastic tubing and what looks to be an ordinary plastic bag (inside the air receiver); some or all of the plastic in the system outgasses what could be toxic chemicals. There is a horrible plastic odor when you put the mask on, which I eventually get used to, but am I poisoning myself? To be fair, it has diminished a bit, but if I were Higher Peak, I would examine alternatives.
  2. The pipe ladder in the air receiver broke. The twine that supports the heavy pipes was folded over and secured with a zip tie and then this loop was placed over the hooks in the air receiver. The zip tie wasn't pulled tight enough and the twine slipped through, so when I checked it the pipes were hanging from just one side. There wasn't enough left at the end to tie it with any kind of knot, so I zip tied it to repair it.
  3. The hooks that hold up the pipe ladder are straining against the sides and my fear is that they will pull through. This part of the system was definitely not designed, more like cobbled together to solve a problem.
  4. I started at approximately 5500' for one week and just completed a week at approximately 7000'. My next step is to raise it to 8500'. I say approximately because I didn't get the $220 optional oxygen analyzer.
  5. My blood tests are two weeks away, so I don't know if this is worth it yet. I will let you know.

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I'm very interested in what you find out when you get your blood tested. I live at 6100 feet and could drive 30 minutes and be at 9,000 feet but that's not very convenient. Allison Dunlap, the 2001 World Mountain Bike Cross-Country champion lives here and I know she has used an altitude chamber. I do an annual backcountry ski trip where I spend 3 nights close to 11,000 feet and after I recover and can tell an improvement which is more than just the hours skiing uphill. We own some land near Leadville at 11,000 feet and I've slept in the back of my vehcicle above 12,000 feet. I'm not sure I could get the price of an altitude tent past my wife though.
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I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.

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Warning Signs for Kidney Disease:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Burning or Difficulty when Urinating
  • Frequent Urination at Night
  • Blood in your urine
  • Cola or tea colored urine
  • Swellig of the eyes, ankles, or feet
  • Lower back pain unrelated to physical activity

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