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Doctor insights on: Low Altitude Sickness

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Dr. Klaus D Lessnau
Board Certified, Pulmonary Critical Care
31 years in practice
3M people helped
1

1
What happens if I set a hyperbaric chamber to low oxygen saturation and used it would I still get altitude sickness?

Dr. Klaus D Lessnau
Board Certified, Pulmonary Critical Care
31 years in practice
3M people helped
What happens if I set a hyperbaric chamber to low oxygen saturation and used it would I still get altitude sickness?

Weird: Why do weird stuff? Altitude sickness is often prevented with diamox. Hyperbaric chamber management should be entirely left to doctors. Do not selfexperiment with that stuff. ...Read more

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Dr. Arnon Rubin
Board Certified
19 years in practice
161K people helped
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Dr. Arnon Rubin
Board Certified
19 years in practice
161K people helped
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Dr. Michael Fisher
Board Certified, Dermatology
27 years in practice
31M people helped
2

2
What are signs of altitude sickness?

Dr. Michael Fisher
Board Certified, Dermatology
27 years in practice
31M people helped
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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Dr. Arnon Rubin
Board Certified
19 years in practice
161K people helped
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Dr. Arnon Rubin
Board Certified
19 years in practice
161K people helped
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Dr. Vance Harris
Board Certified, Family Medicine
32 years in practice
3M people helped
3

3
Any tips for climbers about altitude sickness?

Dr. Vance Harris
Board Certified, Family Medicine
32 years in practice
3M people helped
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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Dr. Kenneth Cheng
Board Certified, Family Medicine
26 years in practice
18M people helped
4

4
What do you do for altitude sickness?

Dr. Kenneth Cheng
Board Certified, Family Medicine
26 years in practice
18M people helped
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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Dr. Arnon Rubin
Board Certified
19 years in practice
161K people helped
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Dr. Jeffrey Roh
Board Certified, Orthopedic Spine Surgery
18 years in practice
101K people helped
5

5
Can you tell me if there are good exercises to reduce the risk of altitude sickness?

Dr. Jeffrey Roh
Board Certified, Orthopedic Spine Surgery
18 years in practice
101K people helped
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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Dr. Michael Fisher
Board Certified, Dermatology
27 years in practice
31M people helped
6

6
What are the symptoms of altitude sickness?

Dr. Michael Fisher
Board Certified, Dermatology
27 years in practice
31M people helped
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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Dr. Pamela Pappas
Board Certified, Psychiatry
37 years in practice
135M people helped
7

7
How do you treat altitude sickness?

Dr. Pamela Pappas
Board Certified, Psychiatry
37 years in practice
135M people helped
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. 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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Dr. Mary Lambe
Board Certified, Travel Medicine
40 years in practice
1M people helped
8

8
Is it possible to have reverse altitude sickness?

Dr. Mary Lambe
Board Certified, Travel Medicine
40 years in practice
1M people helped
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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Dr. Nancy Mellow
Board Certified, Internal Medicine
39 years in practice
987K people helped
9

9
I went trekking to a place over 5, 000 ft above sea level recently. I do not usually exercise n this is my 1st time. I did not get altitude sickness.Y?

Dr. Nancy Mellow
Board Certified, Internal Medicine
39 years in practice
987K people helped

Not surprising: At that altitude, true altitude sickness would not be as likely as at much higher altitudes. Also, people's proneness to altitude sickness does not depend on their usual exercise level. Things that can predict it are a history of having it before, doing vigorous execise before adjusting to the altitude, ascending too quickly, drinking alcohol, etc. Keep up your exercise! ...Read more

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Dr. Mary Lambe
Board Certified, Travel Medicine
40 years in practice
1M people helped
10

10
At which heights have people got altitude sickness, curious what the lowest point would be that people know of ?

Dr. Mary Lambe
Board Certified, Travel Medicine
40 years in practice
1M people helped
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

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Dr. Arnon Rubin
Board Certified,
19 years in practice
161K people helped
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