Background. Research on the effects of high altitude exposure on erythropoiesis and iron metabolism has revealed the behavior and adaptations that occur in populations that visit or live at different altitudes above sea level. Objective. To analyze the scientific information available and to give an update to the reader regarding the effects of high altitude exposure on erythropoiesis and iron metabolism.Materials and Methods. A research of articles in different databases such us PubMed, MEDLINE, Scielo, EBSCO and OVIDm was performed. This research was based on the MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) and DeCS Bireme (Health Descriptors) descriptors lists. Results. Regarding erythropoiesis, an increase of erythropoietin and reticulocytes have been observed when the altitude increases. Regarding iron metabolism a decline in reserves of iron (ferritin) and an increase of transferrin and soluble transferrin receptor can be noted when the altitude increases. Conclusion. The magnitude of these increases depends on the time of exposure to hypoxia, the individual’s gender and the population, since differences between ethnic groups living at the same altitude have been found. Existing research is related to great altitudes, but at intermediate altitudes, below 2600m s. n. m., there is not enough research.
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