Extreme Terrestrial Environments: Life in Thermal Stress and Hypoxia. A Narrative Review
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Living, working and exercising in extreme terrestrial environments are challenging tasks even for healthy humans of the modern new age. The issue is not just survival in remote environments but rather the achievement of optimal performance in everyday life, occupation, and sports. Various adaptive biological processes can take place to cope with the specific stressors of extreme terrestrial environments like cold, heat, and hypoxia (high altitude). This review provides an overview of the physiological and morphological aspects of adaptive responses in these environmental stressors at the level of organs, tissues, and cells. Furthermore, adjustments existing in native people living in such extreme conditions on the earth as well as acute adaptive responses in newcomers are discussed. These insights into general adaptability of humans are complemented by outcomes of specific acclimatization/acclimation studies adding important information how to cope appropriately with extreme environmental temperatures and hypoxia.
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