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Doctor insights on: Medicine For Altitude Illness

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How can I treat altitude illness?

How can I treat altitude illness?

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

Dr. Benjamin Constance
86 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 8, ...Read more


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What sort of problem is altitude illness?

What sort of problem is altitude illness?

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 more

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Are the symptoms of altitude illness bad?

Yes: High altitude sickness is associated with fluid accumulation in the lungs which causes severe shortness of breath and if left untreated, may be lethal. ...Read more

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What do you recommend for altitude illness?

Drop in elevation: 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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How fast can I make my altitude illness go away?

Lower altitude: High altitude illness is a serious issue and I am not sure I understand what you mean by altitude illness. The treatment for high altitude sickness is evacuation to a lower altitude, diuretic and oxygen. ...Read more

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Does altitude illness usually cause many symptoms?

Respiratory: High altitude illness causes fluid in the lungs resulting in difficulty in breathing and poor oxygenation of blood. Symptoms may include cough with frothy sputum, and weakness. ...Read more

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What are the most common symptoms of altitude illness?

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 more

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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

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Will altitude illness stop me from going on my vacation?

Will altitude illness stop me from going on my vacation?

Shouldn't: Your dr has several choices to prevent altitude illness including "diamox" a special type of diuretic (water pill), cortisone, nifedipine, or salmeterol.
I usually recommend the "diamox" acetazolamide as it is cheap and easy to use. ...Read more

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Do lots of people get altitude illness, or is it unusual?

At high altitude: Only people climbing to a high altitude get high altitude illness, especially if they do it without proper acclimatization. ...Read more

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What is the definition or description of: altitude illness?

See below: 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 metres (8, 000 feet). ...Read more

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How come I have altitude illness, but nobody else in the family has it?

Non genetic causes:: More likely to occur if you are more active, dehydrated, or had less chance to acclimatize. Sometimes younger people at higher risk because move around more ; more apt to have relative oxygen deficit--breathing more deeply with air hunger. Another group which struggles at first are those with sleep apnea which worsens at altitude, w/ sleeplessness, headache ; nausea. Those w/ anemia also > risk. ...Read more

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Is there a cure for altitude illness?

Is there a cure for altitude illness?

Come down: The immediate treatment and cure for altitude illness is generally returning to a lower altitude, hydration and oxygen. Should this progress to more serious things like acute mountain sickness, then hyperbaric field-treatment and immediate evacuation to the hospital for treatment with diuretics and steroids to prevent brain swelling is needed. ...Read more

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What kind of doctor sees somebody for altitude illness?

Travel Medicine: You did not specify in your question if you already have symptoms or are trying to prevent getting symptoms. Assuming that you are not ill now, I fully agree with dr. Kohl's answer. Please see a travel medicine trained physician in your area. ...Read more

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Do people with altitude illness have a lot of pain?

Do people with altitude illness have a lot of pain?

Pain?: High altitude illness (hai) is the collective term for the syndromes affecting the brain and lungs that can occur following an initial ascent to high altitude or after a further ascent from an existing high altitude. They involve extravascular fluid accumulation in the brain and lungs. Acute mountain sickness is the most common, involving headache. Sudden death may occur without descent or oxygen. ...Read more

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What is the best treatment for altitude illness?

What is the best treatment for altitude illness?

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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Which treatment works the best and fastest for altitude illness?

Which treatment works the best and fastest for altitude illness?

GET LOWER: When mountain climbing the best treatment for altitude sickness is to get back to lower altitude. Some expert climbers use Diamox (acetazolamide) for prevention and Furosemide (lasix) for pulmonary edema (lung swelling). Prevention is the key to prevent altitude sickness: stay hydrated, ascend slowly. Acclimate overnight. You must recognize the symptoms before getting into trouble. Picture= mt. Adams wa 12, 200'. ...Read more

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Do doctors see a lot of patients with altitude illness?

Do doctors see a lot of patients with altitude illness?

Wilderness medicine: Since altitude illness goes away when a person comes off the mountain (or the person dies if they continue climbing and gets serious pulmonary edema or cerebral edema--we usually care for them if climbing alongside. Travel and wilderness doctors do prepare many patients for reducing or avoiding altitude sickness. See one if going to high altitude. ...Read more

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Alternatives to Diamox (acetazolamide) for altitude illness?

Not really: Fundamentals include gradual ascent, graded exercise, prevention of dehydration, avoidance of alcohol and prompt recognition of symptoms. Acetazolamide (diamox) is the cornerstone of phrmacotherapy for prevention, but Dexamethasone is often used in treatment of acute illness. ...Read more