Altitude sickness is a condition which affects some people when they are on a high mountain. This is because of the decrease in atmospheric pressure which makes it harder to inhale enough oxygen. Altitude sickness in its mildest form can occur at a height of 2,500m above sea level and can cause dizziness, nausea, headaches and breathing difficulties which can become potentially fatal if left untreated.
The symptoms can be prevented by using a medication such as Diamox before you begin to ascend. At euroClinix, we provide medication which can be used to prevent altitude sickness before going abroad. You will need to simply fill in a free online consultation as part of the order process so that a doctor can be sure that it will be a safe and effective medication for you before a prescription is provided to our pharmacy and your medication dispatched for free next day delivery.
The term 'altitude sickness' is used to describe a combination of symptoms which some people experience when they are at the top of a high mountain. It does not affect people within the UK as the highest mountain measures only 1,344m. However, many people who go abroad on skiing, hiking or trekking holidays may experience symptoms when they reach a high altitude.
The decrease in atmospheric pressure at high altitudes means that the oxygen supply to your brain and muscles will be reduced. The main cause for severe altitude sickness is a lack of acclimatisation. This means that you have reached a high altitude and not allowed your body to adjust to the height before moving further up. As your lungs and heart have to work harder the higher up you get, this can lead to dangerous complications if there is a lack of oxygen flowing through the body.
Symptoms of altitude sickness can vary from person to person. It can affect people of all ages, fitness levels, height, weight and sex. Even those that have not suffered altitude sickness before could find themselves suffering at a later date while ascending.
Mild forms of altitude sickness include symptoms of:
Severe altitude sickness can cause:
Severe altitude sickness is something that can occur if you ascend to around 12,000 feet or more. The symptoms of severe altitude sickness should be taken seriously and anyone suffering from it should be brought down the mountain as soon as possible and seek medical attention.
Some people may also suffer from more serious altitude sickness which can cause fatal complications, in which case it is important to contact a doctor and descend immediately.
Severe altitude sickness is considered a medical emergency and can present symptoms such as extreme breathlessness and coughing, difficulty walking, convulsions and confusion or irrational behaviour. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should immediately descend by at least 600m, otherwise they are at risk of suffering from cerebral or pulmonary oedema which can result in a coma or death.
If you are displaying mild altitude sickness symptoms you should not ascend any higher until your symptoms improve. If there are no signs of symptoms dissipating you should descend at least 500 meters to lower the altitude. During the time resting you should rest, not smoke and drink clear fluids. You should not try to exercise or ascend any further.
Many mountain climbers take Diamox to avoid the associated symptoms or alleviate them should they get altitude sickness while climbing. Taking Diamox before setting out will help to reduce the chance of you getting altitude sickness. It is advisable to start Diamox a few days before you start your climb as this will allow you to get used to the medication before starting out. It should be taken during the climb and for a day or two after reaching the peak to keep symptoms at bay.
If you are planning any form of holiday that involves skiing, hiking or trekking, then adequate preparation and proper acclimatisation is the best way to prevent altitude sickness. Thus doing a number of things to help the body to adapt to the lower oxygen level is vital in preventing the condition from occurring.
1. Ascend slowly over several days, taking the time to acclimatise to higher altitudes
2. Keep well hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
3. Do not smoke, drink or use depressant medications such as tranquilizers or sleeping pills, which reduce the respiratory drive.
4. Eat a high calorie diet. particularly focusing on foods high in carbohydrates
5. Wear protective eyewear to protect from exposure of sunburn or sunstroke
6. Do not ignore the symptoms of altitude sickness if they occur
Altitude sickness is most common among those who spend time at high altitudes such as mountaineers or skiers. Thus those who travel to high altitude locations are more at risk of experiencing symptoms of the condition. In these environments, altitude sickness can affect anyone. There are no specific factors, such as age, sex or physical condition, that increase a person's likelihood of getting the condition.
Diamox is available here online and can be used to prevent altitude sickness in conjunction with other precautionary measures such as a slow ascent. If you would like to buy the treatment you will need to fill in an online consultation so that one of our doctors can ensure that the treatment will be safe and effective for you to use. When your order has been approved the medication will be dispatched for next day delivery from a registered pharmacy.
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