Suicide is More Common in High-Altitude Counties

❝ Suicide is one of the top 10 causes of death in the U.S. In the next 20 years, it’s expected to cause more than 2 million deaths per year worldwide, ranking 14th in the world as a cause of death.

❝ There are many factors known to affect an individual’s risk for suicide. For example, people who are older, male, white, divorced, low-income, isolated or who abuse substances are all at higher risk. Psychiatric illness, mood disorders and lack of social support are also recognized risk factors.

Several studies have demonstrated geographic variations in suicide patterns in the U.S., with higher suicide rates in western states. Our ongoing research expands on those findings, showing that Americans who live in higher-altitude counties are at a higher risk for suicide…

❝ Previous studies have reported a significant association between suicide and altitude. One study showed a strong positive relationship between average state altitude and suicide rate. For example, in Utah, the average geographic altitude is about 6,000 feet, and the rate of suicide is 70 percent higher than average.

The article opens many interesting avenues of research, especially into hypoxia.

I live in a valley which lies at 6300′ altitude. The nearby city of Santa Fe is at 7000′. And the first thing that comes to my mind is hypoxia, of course. As a sleep apnea “sufferer” who hardly ever suffers, blood oxygen saturation is a problem easily solved. CPAP machines get cheaper and quieter every year. If you’re an old geek like me, you’re already on Medicaid + Medigap. And like, me, you sleep fine waking up refreshed by a slightly compressed feed of bedroom air pressed into your lungs.

It’s just another market for tech solutions, folks. No need to stay away or add another worry to your life. Just need the feds to authorize the prescription.

One thought on “Suicide is More Common in High-Altitude Counties

  1. Pedant says:

    “High-altitude adaptation in humans is an instance of evolutionary modification in certain human populations, including those of Tibet in Asia, the Andes of the Americas, and Ethiopia in Africa, who have acquired the ability to survive at extremely high altitudes. This adaptation means irreversible, long-term physiological responses to high-altitude environments, associated with heritable behavioral and genetic changes.” More than 140 million people worldwide are estimated to live at an elevation higher than 2,500 metres (8,200 ft) above sea level, of which 13 million are in Ethiopia, 1.7 million in Tibet (total of 78 million in Asia), 35 million in the South American Andes, and 0.3 million in Colorado Rocky Mountains.

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