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Doctor insights on: Low Altitude Sickness

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Dr. Benjamin Constance
85 doctors shared insights

Altitude Illness (Definition)

A condition that occurs when you can't get enough oxygen from the air at high altitudes. This causes symptoms such as a headache, loss of appetite, and trouble sleeping. It happens most often when people who are not used to high altitudes go quickly from lower altitudes to ...Read more


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How do you treat altitude sickness?

How do you treat altitude sickness?

Depends on degree: This depends on the degree of illness. But I do agree with my colleague that descent -- safely -- is the first thing to do. Additional needs might be oxygen, hydration, the diuretic diamox (acetazolamide). If the person is confused, short of breath, and not moving well, this is severe and you're going to need help getting him/her down the mountain. Better to watch for early signs than let it get this far. ...Read more

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What are signs of altitude sickness?

What are signs of altitude sickness?

Altitude sickness: Acute altitude sickness may be associated with any combination of the following symptoms: fatigue, headache, dizziness, insomnia, shortness of breath during exertion, nausea, decreased appetite, swelling of extremities. Altitude sickness develops when the rate of ascent into higher altitudes outpaces the body's ability to adjust to those altitudes. ...Read more

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What do you do for altitude sickness?

What do you do for altitude sickness?

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 more

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What are the symptoms of altitude sickness?

What are the symptoms of altitude sickness?

Altitude sickness: Acute altitude sickness may be associated with any combination of the following symptoms: fatigue, headache, dizziness, insomnia, shortness of breath during exertion, nausea, decreased appetite, swelling of extremities. Altitude sickness develops when the rate of ascent into higher altitudes outpaces the body's ability to adjust to those altitudes. ...Read more

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Any tips for climbers about altitude sickness?

Any tips for  climbers about altitude sickness?

Tips for climbing: Climb the mountain gradually, stop for a day or two for every 2, 000 feet above 8, 000 feet . Sleep at a lower altitude when possible. Recognize early symptoms. If you plan on quickly climbing to a high altitude, ask your doctor about a medication called acetazolamide (diamox). ...Read more

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Is it possible to have reverse altitude sickness?

Is it possible to have reverse altitude sickness?

No: If by that you mean you have come back to lowland and yet have nausea, headache, dizziness, loss of appetite, fatigue, look for another cause. Altitude headache by itself should resolve at low altitude by 12 hours. If you have shortness of breath or cough- high altitude pulmonary edema can persist up to 48 hours after returning to low altitude. Go see your health provider. ...Read more

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Do you know altitude sickness begins to appear at (aproximately) what altitude?

Do you know altitude sickness begins to appear at (aproximately) what altitude?

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

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Can you tell me if there are good exercises to reduce the risk of altitude sickness?

Can you tell me if there are good exercises to reduce the risk of altitude sickness?

Altitude sickness: The risk of altitude sickness typically increases with the rate of ascension and elevation height. That is, the higher and faster one climbs, the worse the altitude sickness can become. The best exercise is altitude acclimatization and training in sequentially higher altitudes. Adequate hydration, avoidance of strenuous exercises, and certain meds can also help. Good luck and happy climbing! ...Read more

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At which heights have people got altitude sickness, curious what the lowest point would be that people know of ?

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