The gathering at the 2017 Sickness Conference was a success. Jam-packed with people from all walks of life, from ordinary citizens who were curious about altitude sickness and researchers down to hikers and adventurers who either wanted to share their experiences or amateurs who went to learn new things about their hiking and mountain climbing. There was a discussion on two of the most common topics when it comes to altitude sickness – snowbird elevation and acute mountain sickness. Today, thousands of people worldwide are still crazy about mountain climbing, and a lot more are eager to try it. If you’re one of them, you’ll first need to know things about acute mountain sickness before you start your love for the hobby.
Acute Mountain Sickness
Skiers and hikers who love to climb up to high altitudes sometimes develop what they refer to as severe mountain sickness otherwise called high altitude pulmonary edema or simply altitude sickness. It usually happens when you reach approximately 8,000 feet above sea level. You may feel several symptoms, such as nausea, headache, dizziness, and shortness of breath, among others. Most often, altitude sickness is not life-threatening and heals spontaneously. Rarely, it can also become severe with lung or brain complications.
There is decreased air pressure and lower oxygen levels at high altitudes. When you are traveling on a plane, for example, your body may not have sufficient time to adjust. The same happens when you climb a mountain or drive to high places. Your exertion level influences this. If you force yourself to climb a hill quickly, you may experience symptoms of acute mountain sickness.
Your physician will encourage you to tell him how you are feeling, your previous activities, including your travels. He will listen for the sound of fluid with his stethoscope on your lungs. To determine if your condition is mild or severe, he may need you to have a chest x-ray done.
Acute mountain sickness treatment depends on its severity, although you can simply return to a lower altitude and experience a relief of symptoms. If there is water in your lungs or brain swelling, the doctor may recommend you to be admitted. Some medications for treatment include acetazolamide, lung inhalers, dexamethasone, and blood pressure medications.