Thursday, November 11, 2010

Medical: High Altitude Health Issues

There are various illnesses associated with high altitude exposure. Moving above the 1500m (4950ft) mark and higher can lead to medical issue onset. At these levels, oxygenation of the blood changes and requires acclimatization so that depending upon the rate of speed one moves upwards, predicts the changes in oxygenation and the onset of illness symptoms. Too great a speed may prevent acclimatization and further ascension is impossible without risk to life.

Altitude Illnesses include:

Altitude illness: Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), altitude illness, hypobaropathy, or soroche, is a pathological effect of high altitude on humans, caused by acute exposure to low partial pressure of oxygen at high altitude. It commonly occurs above 2,400 metres (8,000 feet).

Extreme Hypoxia: Hypoxia is a pathological condition in which the body as a whole (generalized hypoxia) or a region of the body (tissue hypoxia) is deprived of adequate oxygen supply.

Hypoxemia: An abnormal deficiency in the concentration of oxygen in the blood.

Hypocapnia: Hypocapnia or hypocapnea also known as hypocarbia, sometimes incorrectly called acapnia, is a state of reduced carbon dioxide in the blood. Hypocapnia usually results from deep or rapid breathing, known as hyperventilation.

When climbing it is important to recognize the onset of symptoms that indicate something is wrong. Typical symptoms include: fatigue, dizziness, nausea, atypical sleep patterns, headaches

Other symptoms appear in more severe instances.

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