Doctor insights on:
How Common Is It For Somebody To Get Altitude Illness
Common: Almost 1/3 of people have symptoms above 3000 meters (9800 feet) some seem more sensitive at lower altitude. Going up faster, (also sleeping high at night, perhaps not being fit, not using preventative medicine) all increase risk. Altitude illness is first reversible by reversing direction and going back downhill. If ignored--deaths do occur. Take it seriously and learn about symptoms. ...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
Many: Symptoms of altitude sickness include headache, nausea, dizziness or unsteadiness, confusion, mental status changes, shortness of breath and coughing. When at altitude, descend immediately at least 1000 feet; if no improvement, descend another 1000 feet. Symptoms of hape and hace (high altitude pulmonary edema and high altitude cerebral edema) require immediate air evacuation. ...Read moreSee 1 more doctor answer
Genetic componenent: Actually there has long been belief in a familial ink in the various forms of altitude illness--lung and brain edema, and a condition called chronic mountain sickness--seen in some living at high altitude. Scientists at ucsd located 2 genes: anp32d ; senp1 in their mapping study. Doesn't mean you will have altitude sickness like mom--many factors involved--but genetics also at play. ...Read moreSee 1 more doctor answer
Decrease altitude: If one is having altitude or high altitude sickness the best possible treatment is to decrease one's altitude and acclimatize at lower levels until feeling better. Otherwise if not practical and less severe then try resting and hydrating for 24+ hours . Also one can treat or prophylax with Diamox (acetazolamide) ahead of time...Often this is very helpful as well. ...Read more
Why do I get altitude illness if i'm in very good shape? I had blood test and am not anemic with a normal RBC count.
Don't tough it: Altitude sickness is poorly understood but people's suceptibility to it has little or nothing to do with overall physical conditioning. It's more dangerous than people think. Take your time going to altiltude. ...Read more
Safe descent: The best treatment for altitude illness or altitude sickness is to decrease one's elevation by at least 1000 ft (quickly and safely.) if symptoms do not improve, one needs to descend another 1000 ft. If one has symptoms of hace (high altitude cerebral edema) or hape (high altitude pulmonary edema) contact search and rescue and arrange for emergent air evacuation. ...Read moreSee 1 more doctor answer
Altitude illness: Altitude illness can be a serious problem. If not recognized early , it can be fatal. The key aspect of prevention is to acclimatize yourself to a medium altitude before you go to high altitude. Consultation with an md can get you medicine to reduce the risk of illness. Many people (eg, skiers at 5000') experience mild illness--jittery, headache, insomnia. These mean it is time to take a break. ...Read moreSee 1 more doctor answer
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