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Chalking it up to the stress of traveling, you opt for a immediate guy nap before adventuring. only you toss and turn, ineffective to sleep from the massive headache that ’ s arrived apparently out of nowhere. What ’ sulfur going on ? The solution might be adenine elementary as elevation nausea, and pulmonologist Humberto Choi, MD helps to break it down .
Altitude nausea, besides called acuate mountain nausea, happens when your soundbox is ineffective to adapt to a low-pressure, low-oxygen environment — typically at about 8,000 feet above sea level. This can cause breathing issues and a horde of other symptoms which can range from very mild to dangerous.
What causes altitude sickness?
The imperativeness in the air — barometric pressure — drops at higher elevations. There is besides less oxygen in the atmosphere at these elevations. If you climb in elevation besides cursorily, your body doesn ’ thymine have time to adjust to less oxygenate air found at higher elevations. You ’ rhenium forced to breathe more quickly to compensate. This can cause hangover-like symptoms — dizziness, headache — even though you didn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate indulge the evening before .
Who’s at risk?
Altitude illness can affect anyone, but some factors put you more at risk. These factors include :
- What elevation you live at normally vs. how high you venture to. If you normally live at lower elevation, such as New York City with an elevation of 33 feet, you’re more likely to feel the effects of higher elevation once there.
- How quickly you move to higher elevation. Moving from a lower elevation level to an abrupt change to higher elevation — such as flying from low elevation to higher — seems to have more of an effect. Flying causes a sudden shift in elevation that makes it harder for your body to adjust, compared to driving, which provides a more gradual incline.
- Your age. Young people are more likely to experience altitude sickness. Likewise, older people experience more severe symptoms. But, Dr. Choi clarifies: “Older people experience more severe symptoms, not so much because of their age, but because they have more frequent chronic medical problems and may not adapt to this elevation as well as someone younger,” he says.
“ When your body is in this nerve-racking situation with low-oxygen and low-pressure, you have to adapt to it, ” says Dr. Choi. “ If you ’ re unable to adapt to higher elevation, it can cause swelling in different organs. The ones that we worry about the most experience intumescence in the brain or lungs. ”
amazingly having certain fundamental health conditions, such as diabetes or asthma doesn ’ t mechanically make you more probable to have issues at higher altitudes .
Things to watch for
If you head to the mountains and do feel the effects of the altitude, chances are likely your symptoms will be mild. Watch for these mild symptoms :
- Shortness of breath.
- Problems sleeping.
You ’ ll typically experience these symptoms within hours after arriving at a high elevation. Symptoms normally resolve on their own shortly as your consistency acclimates to the elevation .
“ Most people are able to tolerate these mild symptoms and still function and do their activities, ” Dr. Choi says. “ Symptoms can last from minutes to hours to even days. ” Dr. Choi says nonprescription ( OTC ) medications should ease symptoms .
If you can’t adjust
In rare cases, you might be ineffective to acclimate to a high elevation. As a result, symptoms can become more dangerous and cause complications with your brain or lungs. If you feel confuse or disoriented, it might mean the elevation is affecting your brain function. If you ’ ra having problems breathing, it could indicate you ’ re having a pneumonic edema, where excess fluid builds up in your lungs. It ’ randomness crucial to seek aesculapian attention mighty away if you experience any of these symptoms .
Some of the more severe symptoms include :
- Loss of coordination or trouble walking.
- Severe headache that doesn’t improve with OTC medications.
- Tightness or congestion in your chest.
- Cough, sometimes with a pink frothy substance.
Do this if you have symptoms
If you have mild symptoms that last for a few hours, you may be able to control the problem with rest and hydration .
“ If your symptoms last longer or seem to get worse, you may need to descend from the high-level area, ” Dr. Choi says. “ If symptoms are severe, such as confusion or worry walk, you should get to the nearest hand brake board immediately. not entirely should you descend to a lower altitude, but you may besides need oxygen. ”
Read more: Apollo for Reddit
Dr. Choi notes that some people may experience elevation illness concisely when flying because you ascend very cursorily. however, that feeling quickly dissipates because the cabin in the plane is pressurized .
Tips to avoid altitude sickness
The best way to treat altitude illness is to plan ahead, Dr. Choi says. He recommends the be ways you can limit your risk .
1. Skip the macchiatos and beers
Avoid caffeinated drinks, such as coffee and tea, one day before leaving for your tripper. Avoid alcohol before departing for your trip excessively. And try to avoid them during your trip deoxyadenosine monophosphate well .
“ Most people are traveling for playfulness, but alcohol and caffeinated drinks are things that actually affect our ability to adjust to altitude, ” Dr. Choi says. “ besides, these drinks don ’ t actually hydrate you, so it ’ s another reason to avoid it. ”
2. Drink twice as much water
One of the best ways to help your body adjust to high gear elevation is to drink more water .
High-altitude areas have low humidity which keeps the vent dry, so you should drink doubly ampere a lot water as you ’ re used to, Dr. Choi says. besides, eat more carbohydrates. Carbs can reduce acuate mountain nausea because they require less oxygen than fats for digestion .
3. Acclimate before heading up
Adjusting to a higher altitude can take a day or two, so if you ’ ra not in any rush, design to take it decelerate and spend a copulate nights at an average altitude. This will give your body time to adapt to a lower degree of oxygen and blackmail. Going to Vail ? Stay in Denver overnight before continuing on .
“ You want a gradual exposure to that environment rather than a rapid rise, ” Dr. Choi says .
4. Talk to your doctor
If you ’ re planning a trip to a high-level area, spill the beans to your sophisticate before you go .
This is specially significant if high altitudes have bothered you in the past, or you have a chronic medical trouble such as lung or affection disease, discuss your concerns ahead of time with your primary concern doctor.
Read more: Apollo for Reddit
It ’ second besides wise to find out where the local checkup clinics are in case of an hand brake. This is your stand-in design in case your symptoms worsen. additionally, Dr. Choi says most hotels in high-level areas carry oxygen for emergency situations .
“ These are simple things you can do that may help prevent symptoms or at least provide you with a plan in the event something goes wrong, ” he says .