Altitude Sickness

Altitude Sickness

High-altitude cerebral oedema (HACE) is a disorder that causes the brain to swell with extra fluid. This can affect a person’s thought processes. High-altitude pulmonary oedema (HAPE) is the second form of developed altitude sickness that swells the lungs with extra fluids, therefore applying pressure to the lungs and arteries surrounding them. Both of these conditions can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated.

Symptoms

  • Powerful headache
  • Sickness and vomiting
  • Persistent light headedness
  • Unusual sleeping patterns
  • Shallow breathing
  • Muscle cramps
  • Loss of appetite

These symptoms occur due to low levels of oxygen in your bloodstream.

Prevention

After developing the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, extreme forms of the condition can manifest and become life-threatening if left untreated. Hence the best way to prevent altitude sickness is to travel above heights of 3,000m with a slow gradual pace. Taking your time allows your body to adjust naturally. Acetazolamide is the common medication to take if travelling to areas with higher altitudes.

For more information, speak to one of our travel experts or visit your nearest Travel Clinic by clicking here.

Content Reviewed By

Ghulam Haydar, MPharm, IPresc

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