Altitude with Attitude!

Mountain scenes are indeed breathtaking. As you reach higher altitudes, barometric pressure decreases so that every breath you take contains fewer molecules of oxygen - causing you to take more breaths to get the oxygen you need. Of course, this happens when you exert yourself walking up any hill, but at low altitudes the shortness of breath usually resolves itself soon after you rest. Not so in a high altitude environment.

As the amount of oxygen in your lungs decreases, the blood becomes less and less efficient at acquiring and transporting oxygen, so no matter how many breaths you take, you are unlikely to attain a normal blood level of oxygen.

It takes your brain a few days to figure out it has to breathe more. Although everyone reacts differently, anybody can get altitude sickness, even those who are physically fit, with lots of high altitude experience, young or old, male or female.

The most common reason for getting altitude sickness is directly related to how quickly you ascend, so if you plan to go high, your best bet is to go slow. If that's not possible, at least know the symptoms and what to do, and you should be able to feel better quickly and avoid the severe, life-threatening forms.

Medical Definitions of Altitude

High Altitude: 5,000-11,500 ft.

Very High Altitude: 11,500-18,000 ft.

Extreme Altitude: above 18,000 ft.

How to decrease the effects of altitude sickness:

  • Ascend slowly - acclimatize yourself to each altitude.

  • Drink plenty of fluids - water, herbal tea, and juice

  • Avoid alcohol.

  • Minimize caffeine intake.

  • Exercise moderately.

  • Eat foods high in iron including molasses, green leafy vegetables, beets, and red meat for the moisturizing value they give the body.

  • Decrease salt.

  • Eat small meals that are low fat and high carbohydrate.

  • Try herbal remedies like Altitude With Attitude!

  • DESCEND!

Things To Avoid

  • Alcohol

  • Sleeping Pills

  • Narcotic pain medications in more than modest doses

Signals that your brain hasn't caught on yet that you're not at sea level:

  • Nausea

  • Headaches

  • Loss of appetite

  • Fatigue or weakness

  • Dizziness

  • Bloody nose

  • Staggering

  • Insomnia

  • Confusion