Lower altitude relieves high blood pressure

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Publish Time: 2020-08-01 Author: Palden Nyima in Lhokha, Tibet From: chinadaily.com.cn

Two Tibetan women take a walk in the new settlement in Tibet's Gonggar county. [Photo by Palden Nyima/chinadaily.com.cn]

After living in a new settlement at a lower altitude for a few months, 71-year-old Norbu Dawa found that he had lower blood pressure.

Norbu Dawa is a Tibetan nomad originally from Tsonyi county in the Tibet autonomous region, where the average altitude is 5,000 meters above the sea level. It's one of the region's highest counties.

By comparison, North Base Camp, Tibet's starting point for climbing Qomolangma, the world's highest peak, is at 5,150 meters.

Because of low oxygen and poor infrastructure, the region regards places above 4,800 meters to be unfit for human habitation.

Norbu Dawa (right) and his wife Zomkyi relax in their living room in the new settlement in Tibet's Gonggar county. [Photo by Palden Nyima/chinadaily.com.cn]

In recent years, Tibet has been relocating people to help protect its high-altitude natural environment and to help poor residents get out of poverty.

Norbu Dawa is pleased with the new settlement, 900 kilometers from his former home. It's in Sinpori village in Tibet's Gonggar county and 1,400 meters lower. And it's about 50 kilometers from the regional capital, Lhasa.

The first phase of the relocation project involved construction that was completed in November. More than 4,000 residents from 957 households from the region's counties of Amdo and Tsonyi relocated to new homes. The new settlement has a police station, a clinic, a primary school and a kindergarten.

Primary school students greet a reporter in the new settlement near Tibet's Gonggar county. [Photo by Palden Nyima/chinadaily.com.cn]

Although they have moved into new homes, the families' livelihoods remained tied to the former ones. They operate a cooperative in which herders take turns managing the yaks and sheep there, and all share the income at the end of the year.

"Relocating from extreme high altitude areas to lower places is a good thing for both the environment and people's heath," Norbu Dawa said, noting his blood pressure improvement.

A Tibetan girl practices riding a skateboard in the new settlement. [Photo by Palden Nyima/chinadaily.com.cn]

"In the past, as our original living environment was remote and harsh, we seldom had a chance to eat vegetables or fruit, and that led to various bad health conditions," he said.

"Now we can get vegetables and fruit easily, and traveling has become more convenient because we now live near an airport and a train station."

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