Having less oxygen available to the body may help the heart to function. "'If living in a lower oxygen environment such as in our Colorado mountains helps reduce the risk of dying from heart disease it could help us develop new clinical treatments for those conditions,' said Professor Benjamin Honigman at the CU School of Medicine. 'Lower oxygen levels turn on certain genes and we think those genes may change the way heart muscles function. They may also produce new blood vessels that create new highways for blood flow into the heart,' he said."