Mountain Sickness Symptoms and Treatment

Mountain sickness symptoms often impact many different people on their mountain expedition, as they ascend thousands of feet above ground. Many times these symptoms are often incorrectly diagnosed and identified as symptoms of other illnesses. This article will help you to identify the signs of mountain sickness and how to treat it.

Mountain sickness is a distressing condition resulting from a decrease in the oxygen content of the air. The ability of the body to receive oxygen is dependent upon the barometric pressure. If this pressure is reduced, as it is when one goes into higher altitude, a readjustment of certain body activities is required to cope with the resulting lowered oxygen tension. The power of readjustment is limited.

Most persons are able to ascend to 10000 feet without trouble. But this level seems to be the critical point above which symptoms begin to manifest themselves. A person with weakened constitution, anemia, and ailing heart may develop symptoms at 600 to 800 feet. While those who are above the average physical shape are often able to reach the 14000 foot level, and some few others will be able to ascend 18000 feet, and even higher.

There are two types of mountain sickness, acute and chronic. The acute mountain sickness results from an abrupt change from a lower to a higher altitude, as affected by a trains, gas balloons, or planes. The chronic type is brought on when the altitude is reached by slow degrees, as by the process of mountain-climbing.

Acute mountain sickness symptoms

The symptoms of acute mountain sickness are Rapid pulse; short, gasping breath; dizziness; nausea; or even vomiting; blunted sensations – sight, hearing, and touch; buzzing in the ears; great bodily weakness, to the point of perspiration; a bluish tinge of the skin. The person might become unconscious; death will result if the altitude is maintained.

Chronic mountain sickness symptoms

The symptoms of chronic mountain sickness are as follows: Dizzy spells coming periodically; occasional spots before the eyes; momentary dimness of vision; blueness of gums, lips, and finger tips, although the individual my feel comfortable. Later, there is languor and physical and mental depression; frontal headache; loss of appetite; nausea; vomiting; possible colicky pains in the abdomen, with diarrhea; increase pulse rate. The symptoms come on gradually, and increase in severity by degrees, unless the person becomes acclimated, which is the case in many instances. Others may go on to death unless taken to a lower altitude.

Treatment for mountain sickness

The treatment for mountain sickness is largely preventative measures. Those who choose to live in high altitudes, or who propose to mountain trips, should give strict attention to rational living. The laws of hygiene, if obeyed, will help on to keep one physically fit, and then our body will adjust much easier to the varying barometric pressures.

For persons who have fallen sick and have started showing signs of the symptoms of mountain sickness, they should be made to rest – place in a place of relaxation, then given ice to the heart. Smelling salts maybe put into service; and if amyl nitrite pearl is at hand, it will afford temporary relief. A lower altitude should also be sough immediately.

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