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Altitude Sickness

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Posted by on Thursday, January 27, 2011, 3:16
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Altitude Sickness
Altitude Sickness

ALTITUDE SICKNESS
If you ascend to an area of high altitude, you are likely to experience some form of altitude sickness. Usually, the symptoms are mild and will improve if you descend.
Altitude sickness is most likely to affect you if you ascend quickly – especially at a rate of more than 500m per day – or if you don’t allow yourself time to get used to the height (acclimatise).
Altitude Sickness is also known by the name of acute mountain sickness. At times, it also results into High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE), which happens to be a very life threatening condition. The basic reason for the cause of altitude sickness is also the failure of acclimatization of the human body beyond a certain elevation. Most of the times, the human body fails to adjust in terms of homeostasis of fluid balance and chemistry. At times, the process of acclimatization stretches from days to weeks, after which the body can at least respond to the external stimulus, is the appreciated manner.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
•    General malaise
•    Pins and needles
•    Insomnia
•    Light headedness
•    Nausea
•    Vomiting
•    Persistent rapid pulse
•    Peripheral Edema
•    Fatigue

TREATMENT
Home remedies
Different home remedies and measures to avoid altitude sickness are mentioned below:
•    Drink Water: As your breathing is fast and deep, you tend to dehydrate more. So, drink water in considerable amount to keep yourself hydrated. Be at vigilance and check whether the urine is clear and in proper quantity. Alcohol can add to the dehydration problem and so, it is better to avoid it thoroughly, especially when you are climbing at higher elevations.
•    Avoid Exercises: Exercising should be avoided, even if it is not rigorous, till you are not suited in altitude completely. Thus, when you are at high altitudes, invest more of your time in leisure activities, rather than in those which require draining of energy.  Limiting exertion is better than using innumerable medications. Activities like running, hiking, lifting, straining etc can worsen the symptoms of altitude sickness.
•    Acetaminophen: Rather than using drugs like aspirin, which have side effects, it’s advisable to use acetaminophen, a safer drug conferring instant relief from pain at higher elevations.
•    Herbal Potion: The potions are made from the common ingredients which are easily found at home. Ingredients include basic and normal things like lemon, water, ginger garlic, honey, etc. Drinking the potion helps in building body stamina, fight cold, cough, fever, headaches, gives energy to combat in high altitude areas etc.
•    Lemon Soda: It can be in taken to prevent vomiting, the colloquial tendency. But home remedies are more useful and easy to get. You can take a glass of fresh sweet lemon soda, digestive capsules made of herbs and natural ingredients like green mango, amla, ginger, methi, etc.
•    Eat Digestible Food: Avoid eating heavy, oily, junk foods while ascending upwards. You can also eat in small portion. Eat stuff which is easily digestible.
•    Ginger: Christopher Hobbs, the renowned herbalist believes ginger to be very beneficial for treating altitude sickness, as it plays a pivotal role in treating mild levels of altitude sickness. It is advisable to mix 20 drops of ginger liquid with half cup of water in case you suffer from altitude sickness.
Self-help
If you have the symptoms of AMS, you shouldn’t ascend any higher. You should:
•    Rest
•    make sure you drink enough fluids
•    take painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen if you have a headache
•    take antisickness medicines, such as cinnarizine or promethazine, or other common anti-histamines to ease sickness and dizziness
You can buy painkillers and antisickness medicines from a chemist without a doctor’s prescription. Always read the patient information that comes with your medicine and if you have any questions, ask your pharmacist for advice.
Oxygen
If your symptoms become more severe, you may need to breathe oxygen in through a face mask. You may also need hyperbaric treatment – this is where you enter a special, pressurised chamber to help get your oxygen levels back to normal.
Medicines
If you have the symptoms of HAPE or HACE, you may be able to take a medicine such as nifedipine or dexamethasone. Occasionally these drugs are given at location, particularly if you are unable to descend quickly and safely. The earlier they are taken, the greater their effectiveness.

Causes of altitude sickness
At high altitudes, the air is at a lower pressure than it is nearer sea level. This makes it harder to get oxygen out of the air you breathe in, and into your bloodstream. Your body responds by increasing your breathing and heart rate.
There are certain factors that may make you more likely to develop altitude sickness; for example, if you:
•    have had altitude sickness before

•    do strenuous activity or exercise at high altitude

•    rapidly ascend to high altitude

•    have a lung infection
If you have diabetes, or a heart or lung condition, you should check with your GP before travelling to places at altitude. Many people with such conditions can cope very well but certain severe conditions may mean it’s unwise for you to travel to, or climb in, areas of high altitude.
PREVENTION
•    acclimatise yourself to high altitudes by slowly ascending over several days – if possible, don’t sleep at an altitude more than 300m higher than the previous night
•    make sure you drink enough fluids
•    eat high-carbohydrate foods such as pasta
•    don’t do any strenuous exercise or activity for the first few days after you arrive at a high altitude and have rest days planned if you are ascending further.

ALTITUDE SICKNESS

If you ascend to an area of high altitude, you are likely to experience some form of altitude sickness. Usually, the symptoms are mild and will improve if you descend.

Altitude sickness is most likely to affect you if you ascend quickly – especially at a rate of more than 500m per day – or if you don’t allow yourself time to get used to the height (acclimatise).

Altitude Sickness is also known by the name of acute mountain sickness. At times, it also results into High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE), which happens to be a very life threatening condition. The basic reason for the cause of altitude sickness is also the failure of acclimatization of the human body beyond a certain elevation. Most of the times, the human body fails to adjust in terms of homeostasis of fluid balance and chemistry. At times, the process of acclimatization stretches from days to weeks, after which the body can at least respond to the external stimulus, is the appreciated manner.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

· General malaise

· Pins and needles

· Insomnia

· Light headedness

· Nausea

· Vomiting

· Persistent rapid pulse

· Peripheral Edema

· Fatigue

TREATMENT

Home remedies

Different home remedies and measures to avoid altitude sickness are mentioned below:

· Drink Water: As your breathing is fast and deep, you tend to dehydrate more. So, drink water in considerable amount to keep yourself hydrated. Be at vigilance and check whether the urine is clear and in proper quantity. Alcohol can add to the dehydration problem and so, it is better to avoid it thoroughly, especially when you are climbing at higher elevations.

· Avoid Exercises: Exercising should be avoided, even if it is not rigorous, till you are not suited in altitude completely. Thus, when you are at high altitudes, invest more of your time in leisure activities, rather than in those which require draining of energy.  Limiting exertion is better than using innumerable medications. Activities like running, hiking, lifting, straining etc can worsen the symptoms of altitude sickness.

· Acetaminophen: Rather than using drugs like aspirin, which have side effects, it’s advisable to use acetaminophen, a safer drug conferring instant relief from pain at higher elevations.

· Herbal Potion: The potions are made from the common ingredients which are easily found at home. Ingredients include basic and normal things like lemon, water, ginger garlic, honey, etc. Drinking the potion helps in building body stamina, fight cold, cough, fever, headaches, gives energy to combat in high altitude areas etc.

· Lemon Soda: It can be in taken to prevent vomiting, the colloquial tendency. But home remedies are more useful and easy to get. You can take a glass of fresh sweet lemon soda, digestive capsules made of herbs and natural ingredients like green mango, amla, ginger, methi, etc.

· Eat Digestible Food: Avoid eating heavy, oily, junk foods while ascending upwards. You can also eat in small portion. Eat stuff which is easily digestible.

· Ginger: Christopher Hobbs, the renowned herbalist believes ginger to be very beneficial for treating altitude sickness, as it plays a pivotal role in treating mild levels of altitude sickness. It is advisable to mix 20 drops of ginger liquid with half cup of water in case you suffer from altitude sickness.

Self-help

If you have the symptoms of AMS, you shouldn’t ascend any higher. You should:

· Rest

· make sure you drink enough fluids

· take painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen if you have a headache

· take antisickness medicines, such as cinnarizine or promethazine, or other common anti-histamines to ease sickness and dizziness

You can buy painkillers and antisickness medicines from a chemist without a doctor’s prescription. Always read the patient information that comes with your medicine and if you have any questions, ask your pharmacist for advice.

Oxygen

If your symptoms become more severe, you may need to breathe oxygen in through a face mask. You may also need hyperbaric treatment – this is where you enter a special, pressurised chamber to help get your oxygen levels back to normal.

Medicines

If you have the symptoms of HAPE or HACE, you may be able to take a medicine such as nifedipine or dexamethasone. Occasionally these drugs are given at location, particularly if you are unable to descend quickly and safely. The earlier they are taken, the greater their effectiveness.

Causes of altitude sickness

At high altitudes, the air is at a lower pressure than it is nearer sea level. This makes it harder to get oxygen out of the air you breathe in, and into your bloodstream. Your body responds by increasing your breathing and heart rate.

There are certain factors that may make you more likely to develop altitude sickness; for example, if you:

· have had altitude sickness before

· do strenuous activity or exercise at high altitude

· rapidly ascend to high altitude

· have a lung infection

If you have diabetes, or a heart or lung condition, you should check with your GP before travelling to places at altitude. Many people with such conditions can cope very well but certain severe conditions may mean it’s unwise for you to travel to, or climb in, areas of high altitude.

PREVENTION

· acclimatise yourself to high altitudes by slowly ascending over several days – if possible, don’t sleep at an altitude more than 300m higher than the previous night

· make sure you drink enough fluids

· eat high-carbohydrate foods such as pasta

· don’t do any strenuous exercise or activity for the first few days after you arrive at a high altitude and have rest days planned if you are ascending further.

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