Health

When To Worry About Altitude Sickness

If you are searching for this kind of article, you are probably adventurous and health-conscious at the same time.

You may be someone who enjoys doing yoga and hiking as part of your choice of physical activities. However, you also think that knowing your limitations is crucial in maintaining your health.

Indeed, physically active individuals such as mountain climbers should mindfully check for signs that tell their body is still in good shape.

For example, responsible hikers regularly consult their respective doctors regarding their body’s major joints, such as the knee. 

Doctors can then advise them on maintaining a healthy and normal knee. These hikers may also consider using alternative remedies for joints, such as essential oils and cannabidiol (CBD) oils.

Nothing is more important for physically active people than getting enough knowledge on how they can keep their bodies fit and healthy. You can find healthy food spots near you on areaguides.net.

The same consideration applies to other disorders individuals may acquire as part of the hazards related to their hobbies.

For example, one risk factor you can incur if you are a hiker or a skier is altitude sickness.

Altitude sickness, sometimes known as “mountain sickness,” is a set of symptoms that can occur if you walk or climb to a more significant elevation, or altitude, too soon.

If not treated, altitude sickness, commonly known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), can develop into a medical emergency.

Symptoms of Altitude Sickness

If you move to a high altitude too soon, you may experience altitude sickness.

Because you cannot inhale as much oxygen, breathing gets tough.

Your age, gender, or physical fitness have no bearing on your risk of altitude sickness.

Also, just because you haven’t had it previously does not guarantee you would not acquire it on a subsequent trip(1).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), altitude sickness has symptoms similar to a hangover: headache, weariness, appetite loss, nausea, and vomiting(2).

Altitude sickness symptoms commonly appear 6 to 24 hours after reaching more than 2,500 meters above sea level(3).

The following symptoms are similar to those of a terrible hangover:

  • Headache
  • Being unwell and feeling sick
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • A decrease in appetite
  • Breathing problems

The signs and symptoms are frequently more severe at night.

Children who are unable to communicate may appear fussy.

Mild cases can be treated by reducing symptoms (for example, with pain relievers for a headache) and should recover on their own within a few days.

Medicines are available to help people adjust to high altitudes faster.

On the other hand, people suffering from altitude sickness should not continue ascending until they have acclimatized to specific heights.

When Is Altitude Sickness Cause for Worry?

At best, you should regard altitude sickness, even in its milder forms, with seriousness.

If a person’s symptoms worsen while they remain at the same altitude, they must descend or face severe sickness or death.

Swelling of the brain is a severe side effect of altitude sickness (high-altitude cerebral edema [HACE]). Some of the symptoms are extreme weariness, lethargy, disorientation, and lack of coordination.

HACE is a rare condition that can be lethal. If it worsens, the person must descend to a lower altitude(4).

The following are symptoms of acute altitude sickness(5):

  • Breathlessness
  • Palpitations in the heart
  • Lack of oxygen causes blue-tinged skin and nails (cyanosis)
  • Coughing due to fluid in the lungs regularly
  • Sputum may be frothy or pink, indicating injury within lung tissue
  • Irrational behavior, such as refusing to recognize symptoms, is an example of irrational behavior
  • Inability to sit or walk straight

Important Reminders Before Going To a High Altitude Area

Before traveling to high altitudes, individuals with pre-existing medical issues should consult a doctor.

Before going on a vacation, persons with heart or lung problems should consult a doctor knowledgeable in high-altitude medicine.

Diabetes patients should be aware that their condition may be challenging to treat at high elevations.

Pregnant women can go to high altitudes for a short time. However, they should consult their doctor first because they may be instructed not to sleep at altitudes higher than 12,000 feet.

If you do not experience any of the medical conditions above, drink plenty of water and allow yourself to acclimate.

As a general guideline, you should not ascend more than 1,500 feet each day.

Travelers heading to areas high altitudes above may experience complications due to the low oxygen levels observed at such elevations.

If you intend to go to a higher altitude and rest there, you may become sick if you don’t rise gradually.

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