Altitude Sickness and Prevention

If you want to travel to a high elevation. You must adjust your body with new altitude. Getting nauseous and lightheaded are symptom of altitude sickness, which is called mountain sickness too. This condition occurs when you travel to a high altitudes quickly. Symptoms happen when your body tries to adjust to the lower are pressure, and lower oxygen levels. Your sex, age and general health don’t seem to affect your risk. Anyone ca get this sickness. If you return to a lower elevation, sickness will likely go away without treatment in first stages of mountain sickness.

We suggest these people to avoid high altitudes if possible. 

  • Heart Patient
  • Pregnant
  • Who live in low elevation
  • Who had previously altitude sickness.

High Elevation: 8000 to 1200 feet above sea level, Very high altitude: 12000 to 18000 feet, Extremely high altitude: 18000 + feet are elevations can bring such sickness. You must check your elevation while trekking and move as per your body requirements. 
Forms of altitude sickness. AMS (Acute mountain sickness) is common in most of the people. After crossing the 10000 feet, 80% 0f people get mild symptoms. There are three categories of AMS.

  1. Mild AMS: Mild headache and fatigue, which normal but after few days as your body acclimates.
  2. Moderate AMS: Normal activities will be disturbed, severe headache, nausea and difficulty with coordination. Descending is required to feel better.
  3. Severe AMS: Shortness of breath, eve at rest position, difficult to walk. Descend immediately to a lower elevation and seek medical care or rescue team.

There are two forms of severe altitude illness .These both are life threatening forms. Descend immediately to a lower elevation and seek medical care or rescue team.

HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema)

Fluid on the lungs, causing breathlessness, even when resting, extreme fatigued and weak

HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema)

Fluid on the brain, causing brain swelling, experience confusion, lack of coordination and possibly violent behavior.

Prevention: 

  • The best way to prevent mountain sickness is to go slow- called acclimatization. 
  • Spend a day at a point midway up before continuing to go up.
  • Talk to healthcare provider about taking acetazolamide before trip. Taking it 24 hours before traveling to a high altitude and continuing for five days can help prevent altitude sickness. Dexamethasone can also be used preventively, but it can have serious side effects.

Walk up, Go slow, Rest, Climb high and sleep low, Know your body, Stat hydrated, Avoid alcohol, Eat carbs are the mantra you have to remember each and every time.