Transplant Athlete
Sunday, March 04, 2007
  Altitude Simulator Update #2

Hopefully this will answer some more questions about the Higher Peak Altitude Simulator. I adjusted the altitude weekly until I was sleeping at about 9000'. I had issues with Labcorp and they didn't get a hematocrit reading the first time around. The second time around, they did get a Hematocrit reading (34.9). I've done some math and think that my hematocrit post altitude training was 36.9%. That's a percentage point above my December reading. So, if I had to draw a conclusion here, I'd say that the Simulator raised my hematocrit about 2.8% over my previous reading. Not really worth the expense and sleep problems for such a small improvement and probably within my margin of error for the math calculation.

Another issue I have is that everytime my blood is drawn for one of these tests, I'm guessing it'll drop my hematocrit somewhere between .5% to 1%, depending on how much blood is drawn.

With that being said, I will now raise the altitude weekly until I reach the highest altitude it is capable of and hopefully this will have a bigger impact on my hematocrit. My next blood draw is prior to the PACTour Brevet Week and several weeks before RAAM.

For reference, it takes several weeks at altitude for you body to acclimatize to the altitude. A good illustation of this was the show "Everest Beyond The Limit" on the Discovery channel. The climbers would spend a week just sitting around acclimatizing at base camp and Advanced Base Camp. I think it takes 3 to 4 weeks for you bones to grow new red blood cells. When my kidneys were failing and I was giving myself shots of EPO, it took about 4 weeks for the drug to have an effect. The EPO told the bones to increase the number of RBC and then 3 to 4 weeks later the bones were pumping out new RBCs at a higher rate.

Bottom Line: The jury is still out on the Altitude Simulator.

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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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