Washington: People living at higher altitudes have a lower chance of dying from a heart disease and tend to live longer than others.
"If living in a lower oxygen environment...helps reduce the risk of dying from heart disease it could help us develop new clinical treatments for those conditions," said Benjamin Honigman, who led the study.
"Lower oxygen levels turn on certain genes and we think those genes may change the way heart muscles function," added Honigman, professor of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
He said increased solar radiation at altitude helps the body better synthesize Vitamin D, which has also been shown to have beneficial effects on the heart and some kinds of cancer, the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health reports.
Honigman, along with researchers from Colorado and Harvard, spent four years analyzing death certificates from every county in the US, according to a Colorado statement.
They examined the cause-of-death, socio-economic factors and other issues in their research.