The doctor told how to properly prepare for a hike in the mountains and avoid altitude sickness

Even experienced climbers are not immune to this. Altitude sickness is a serious problem for those who travel to high altitude areas. Symptoms of this condition can range from mild irritation to loss of consciousness, and in some cases can contribute to the development of life-threatening diseases. DiscussThe doctor told how to properly prepare for a hike in the mountains and avoid altitude sickness© Ace the Himalaya

Although interest in high-altitude tourism is growing rapidly, general awareness of it and understanding of the dangers of visiting these places remain low. An emergency physician who specializes in altitude illness has more to say about this.

Altitude illness is rare below 8,200 feet (2,500 meters), but very common if you go higher. In fact, this condition affects about 25% of visitors to the Colorado mountains.

The risk of this disease increases rapidly with increasing altitude. At altitudes above 9,800 feet (3,000 meters), up to 75% of travelers may experience its symptoms. These typically include headache, dizziness, nausea, fatigue and insomnia. Most often they pass in one or two days if people stop climbing, and even faster as they descend.

The doctor told how prepare properly for a hike in the mountains and avoid altitude sickness.© CC0 Public Domain

If travelers do not acclimatize properly, they may be exposed to dangerous altitude diseases such as high-altitude pulmonary edema or high-altitude cerebral edema. These conditions involve fluid accumulation in the tissues of the lungs and brain, respectively, and are considered the most severe forms of altitude sickness.

Signs of altitude sickness are caused by increased pressure around the brain. This is the result of the body's inability to acclimatize to high altitudes.

Altitude medicine experts and other doctors have known for decades that the best way to protect against altitude sickness is to climb slowly. This strategy gives the body time to get used to changes in air pressure and oxygen content. Spending just one night at a moderate altitude, such as in Denver, Colorado at 5,280 feet (1,600 meters), has been shown to significantly reduce the likelihood of developing symptoms. People who immediately travel to high altitudes are four times more likely to experience symptoms of altitude sickness.

When climbing to altitudes above 11,000 feet (3352.8 m), several days of acclimatization are required. Experts generally recommend climbing no more than 1,500 feet (457 m) per day after exceeding the 8,200 feet (2,500 m) altitude threshold.

News content should not be considered a doctor's prescription. Before making a decision, consult a specialist.