The acute acclimatization to high altitude is underpinned by a diuresis (and to a lesser extent a natriuresis) that facilitates a reduction in plasma volume. This allows a haemoconcentration to occur that increases the oxygen carrying capacity of a given volume of blood, a vital effect in the presence of a reduced partial pressure of oxygen. This critical acclimatization process is orchestrated by the endocrine system. This review will present the key evidence regarding the changes in several important hormones that affect this process.
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