Altitude Sickness (Moutain Sickness)

Altitude Sickness (Mountain Sickness)

What is Altitude Sickness (Mountain Sickness)

Altitude Sickness Sometimes called “mountain sickness,” altitude sickness is a group of symptoms that can strike if you walk or climb to a higher elevation, or altitude, too quickly.

The pressure of the air that surrounds you is called barometric pressure. When you go to higher altitudes, this pressure drops and there is less oxygen available.

If you live in a place that’s located at a moderately high altitude, you get used to the air pressure. But if you travel to a place at a higher altitude than you’re used to, your body will need time to adjust to the change in pressure.

3 Types of Altitude Sickness:

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS): is the mildest form and it’s very common. The symptoms can feel like a hangover – dizziness, headache, muscle aches, nausea.

High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE): is a buildup of fluid in the lungs that can be very dangerous and even life threatening.

High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE): is the most severe form of altitude sickness and happens when there’s fluid in the brain. It’s life threatening and you need to seek medical attention right a

Symptoms of Altitude Sickness:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue and loss of energy
  • Shortness of breath
  • Problems with sleep
  • Loss of appetite

Risky individuals:

Anyone can develop altitude sickness, no matter how fit, young, or healthy they are -- even Olympic athletes can get it. In fact, being physically active at a high elevation makes you more likely to get it.

Your chance of getting altitude sickness depends on a few other things: how quickly you move to a higher elevation, how high you go up, the altitude where you sleep, and other factors.

Your risk also depends on where you live and the altitude there, your age (young people are more likely to get it), and whether you’ve had altitude sickness before.

Having certain illnesses like diabetes or lung disease doesn’t automatically make you more likely to develop altitude sickness. But your genes could play a role in your body’s ability to handle higher elevations.

Some Final Thoughts

Mountain is an exciting place to be explored. However, it also challenges our physical limitations. It is undeniable truth that there are tribes adapted to high altitude livings while some managed to reach the top. But, after all genes and our training disciplines are the one that made us different. Some may face serious altitude sickness while some managed to overcome mild symptoms. Anyhow, we should always be careful and monitor our body conditions during our hikes. Take calculated risks and you will be rewarded by the nature!