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People who live at higher altitudes tend to live longer than people living at sea level. People who live at higher altitudes also tend to have fewer degenerative diseases. What is the explanation for this phenomenon? Few people today, including members of the medical profession, really understand the link between the act of breathing, or respiration, and the subsequent changes that occur in the lungs, the blood, and the tissues of the body. At higher elevations the greater concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood paradoxically allows the smaller amount of oxygen to more effectively oxygenate the tissues. The higher levels of carbon dioxide release oxygen into the tissues, relax the blood vessels, prevent edema (the buildup of fluid), help eliminate the toxic waste product ammonia, and increase the efficiency of energy production.