Doctor insights on:
High Altitude Sickness Prevention
As one ascends through the atmosphere, every breath contains fewer molecules of oxygen. One must work harder to obtain oxygen, by breathing faster and deeper. The % of oxygen in the atmosphere at sea level is 21%. As altitude increases, the % remains the same but the number of oxygen molecules per breath is reduced. At 12, 000 feet 40% fewer oxygen molecules per breath. Your ...Read more
Why do I keep getting altitude sickness @ high altitudes. I'm in good physical shape and have a heart rate of an athlete.?
Fitness is unrelated: Unfortunately, altitude sickness effects people quite variably, with some people highly susceptible. Vulnerability to altitude sickness is not affected by level of physical conditioning. Medications can be very helpful, including Nifedipine and dexamethasone, but these have to be chosen carefully depending on any other health issues that you may have. Gradual ascent is the only certain prevention. ...Read more
How do I go from sea-level to sky high? I live at sea-level and am going to be hiking in colorado. What can I do to avoid altitude sickness?
Diamox (acetazolamide).: If you are going to colorado in a short period of time to do some hiking you might see your physician to see if you are a candidate to use diamox, (acetazolamide) a medication which can prevent you from getting mountain sickness (altitude sickness). Have a good trip. ...Read moreSee 2 more doctor answers
My travel clinic prescribed Acetazolamide for altitude sickness for an upcoming trip to Machu Pichu. I have elevated liver enzymes. Thoughts?
Renal excretion: Acetazolamide, commonly prescribed for prevention or amelioration of mountain sickness, is not metabolized and is completely eliminated by the kidneys so elevated liver enzymes should not pose a contraindication. However, the reason for the elevated liver enzymes should be evaluated for in those with liver failure, azetazolamide can increase hyperammonemia. ...Read more
8000 feet but:: 8000 ft is often when people notice significant symptoms yet at 5000 ft many are breathless ; those who are very susceptible may complain of headache or occasional nausea. More serious high altitude pulmonary edema or high altitude cerebral edema emerge at higher altitude but it is speed of ascent rather than absolute height which increases risk. Danger very high at or above 11, 500 ft. ...Read more
At which heights have people got altitude sickness, curious what the lowest point would be that people know of ?
8000 feet: 8000 feet is the norm at which people may begin to notice significant symptoms but at 5000 feet many are breathless ; those who are very susceptible may complain of headache or occasional nausea. More serious high altitude pulmonary edema or high altitude cerebral edema emerge at higher altitude but it is speed of ascent rather than absolute height that increases risk.Danger very high > 11, 500 fee. ...Read more
Go slow: If possible, acclimate slowly (ie: go up only 1000-2000 feet each day once you get above 4000 feet and rest lots). Drink LOTS of water, eat foods high in iron and carbohydrates, avoid alcohol and other sedatives, and ask your doctor if a prescription for acetazolamide might be right for you. ...Read moreSee 2 more doctor answers
Be Cautious: Climb slowly: let your body acclimate climb high, sleep low—sleeping at lower altitude then you have spent the day hiking lets body adjust hydrate if ill with headache, nausea, irritable, feeling hung over—go back down. Altitude can be fatal. Consider Diamox (acetazolamide) to prevent altitude sickness—talk to travel/ wilderness provider. It does not make you bullet proof ; still respect signs of sickness. ...Read more
Not altitude illness: Altitude sickness does not cause fever unless possibly when one has gone on to serious high altitude pulmonary edema with severe shortness of breath ; vigorous, desperate cough frothy bloody sputum production. If you are having headache but with chills, fever, aches and pains, some other illness is at play--or perhaps in addition to altitude illness. Please get checked out. ...Read more
Altitude sickness—also known as acute mountain sickness (ams), altitude illness, hypobaropathy, "the altitude bends", or soroche—is a pathological effect of high altitude on humans, caused by acute exposure to low partial pressure of oxygen at high altitude. It commonly occurs above 2, 400 ...Read more
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