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My question is how many people are actually affected by the altitude? Also what are the effects? And when do you feel it, after a couple of days or right away ? Also other then drinking plenty of water what else can you do?
 

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People are acutally affected by altitude, it causes shortness of breath and dizziness in "extreme" cases. After the first day you'll notice your enegy level is down a bit. Drink lots of water and get plenty of rest at night.
 

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We had one person on the Black Bear trail that was suffering from altitude sickness. There is little one can do except get acclimated which takes time at altitude or sleeping in an altitude tent/room.

What most people don't understand is that we get dehydrated at altitude simply through breathing. With the air less dense, it also carries less humidity (water) and just the act of breathing dehydrates you. Yes, water is key to surviving, avoid drinking lots of alcohol (like that is going to happen) and caffeine (a couple of great coffee shops are in town, that aint gonna happen either) and hard exertion.

But, yes, drink, drink, drink...water that is...
 

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I felt the symptoms right away - light headed/dizzy/nauseous/headache. I drank plenty and ate a snickers bar - not sure if that's good or not but I started to feel better pretty quickly. Symptoms subsided after a day or so.
 

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like they said...drink water.
I've lived here for over a year, but when I go ski the pass, which is over 12,000ft I still get short of breath...but i don't expect you will be skinning for the ultimate powder run either.
 

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Being in reasonable cardiovascular physical health also helps quite a bit.

I had never had issues with altitude until recently. For 5 months I had been commuting to Austin, TX for work and coming home on weekends and skiing one day on the weekend. So I came from about 5700ft down to ~500ft in Austin, back to 5700ft for a day then peaked at about 12500ft for parts of another day then flew back to Austin. I have not been in shape due to travel, stress, and much more beer drinking and barbeque eating than normal. Usually the second day I would be very tired and have migraine headaches which would last 32-48 hours. By then I would be back in Austin. Since being home for a couple of weeks now I think I had a headache that started about 5 days after coming home, got it skiing some of the higher slopes spending most of my day above the treeline. It lasted for more than a day and now I am fine (plus started hitting the gym again, makes a world of difference).
 

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One of our friends from Ontario had a constant headache that let to nausea and he finally couldn't drive down Imogene into telluride. Pretty serious. He got meds at a clinic in telluride & he was doing much better. If you're concerned, ask you doc for 'altitude meds' before coming.
 

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3 days per thousand feet too acclimate, Aspirin and raw Onions two weeks or so before going to high places will help allot to thin your blood. This has helped me in the past to hunt on the Continental Dived. :)
 

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ouray is only about 1700 ft higher than home (which is about 6K feet), i didnt feel any difference last year (not bragging just stating for reference)
 

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Attached is a graph of Absolute Pressure versus Altitude. At sea level the standard pressure is 14.7 psia (pounds per square inch absolute), although weather - barometric conditions cause it to vary slightly. Atlanta is the only major city east of the Rocky Mountains that is over 1000 feet above sea level, and just at 1050 feet. At that altitude the standard pressure is 14.2 psia. Hence, Atlanta is the second highest city in the NFL and Major League Baseball.

A couple more elevations / pressures are: (1) Denver at 5280 feet / 12.1 psia, (2) Ouray at 7700 feet / 11.0 psia, and (3) Imogene Pass 13,100 feet / 8.9 psia.

For those that took chemistry in high school, you may remember PV = nRT, which reduces to Vb (volume of air required per breath on top of a mountain) equals the volume of air required per breath at sea level times the pressure at sea level divided by the pressure on top of the mountain, for constant terms of nRT. Just think of it as you need to breathe an equal number of oxygen molecules whether you are at sea level or on top of a mountain.

Enough of the equations, here are the relationships:

In Denver you need to fill your lungs with 22% more air than at sea level to get the same amount of oxygen.
In Ouray you need to fill your lungs with 34% more air than at sea level.
On Imogene Pass you need to fill your lungs with 64% more air than at sea level.

Most people cannot fill there lungs with 64% more for each breath until they are fully acclimated to altitude, therefore they take more breaths per minute than at sea level. This contributes to exhaling more water vapor with each breath, which is why you need to drink more water. Also, oxygen deprivation cause a light headed feeling (or headaches). In time you will acclimate to the higher altitude. However, be sure to drink lots of water (not carbonated soda pop, beer, or wine) and pace yourself.
 

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3 days per thousand feet too acclimate, Aspirin and raw Onions two weeks or so before going to high places will help allot to thin your blood. This has helped me in the past to hunt on the Continental Dived. :)
With all due respect, that is one of the funniest things I've read for a long time. As someone who has trained the highest level cyclist since '90, I've never heard such nonsense. If it were that easy, no one would ever get altitude sickness...
 

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Attached is a graph of Absolute Pressure versus Altitude. At sea level the standard pressure is 14.7 psia (pounds per square inch absolute), although weather - barometric conditions cause it to vary slightly. Atlanta is the only major city east of the Rocky Mountains that is over 1000 feet above sea level, and just at 1050 feet. At that altitude the standard pressure is 14.2 psia. Hence, Atlanta is the second highest city in the NFL and Major League Baseball.

A couple more elevations / pressures are: (1) Denver at 5280 feet / 12.1 psia, (2) Ouray at 7700 feet / 11.0 psia, and (3) Imogene Pass 13,100 feet / 8.9 psia.

For those that took chemistry in high school, you may remember PV = nRT, which reduces to Vb (volume of air required per breath on top of a mountain) equals the volume of air required per breath at sea level times the pressure at sea level divided by the pressure on top of the mountain, for constant terms of nRT. Just think of it as you need to breathe an equal number of oxygen molecules whether you are at sea level or on top of a mountain.

Enough of the equations, here are the relationships:

In Denver you need to fill your lungs with 22% more air than at sea level to get the same amount of oxygen.
In Ouray you need to fill your lungs with 34% more air than at sea level.
On Imogene Pass you need to fill your lungs with 64% more air than at sea level.

Most people cannot fill there lungs with 64% more for each breath until they are fully acclimated to altitude, therefore they take more breaths per minute than at sea level. This contributes to exhaling more water vapor with each breath, which is why you need to drink more water. Also, oxygen deprivation cause a light headed feeling (or headaches). In time you will acclimate to the higher altitude. However, be sure to drink lots of water (not carbonated soda pop, beer, or wine) and pace yourself.
Beautiful....
 

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Seeing is believing! When you traveled did you not learn anything? I offered this knowledge because allot of people can lesson the altitude sickness and have a better time. Who are you? How is it that you did all that training and do not this? This forum is too help people, let's do that. :)
 

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Alcohol has a much greater power at altitude. Saw that at last years Summit. Like others have said, drink water, get rest, keep things within limits.

I had the opposite happen to me last year. I live at 5500 feet. Went on vacation to Key West. The air was so heavy. I could feel it when I breathed. Just a happy dude up here.
 

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I would suggest a word of caution to those who are asthmatic. Progress slowly - monitor yourself.
Altitude tends to accentuate asthmatic reactions.
 

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From Wikapedia:

Generally, different people have different susceptibilities to altitude sickness. For some otherwise healthy people Acute mountain sickness (AMS) can begin to appear at around 2000 meters (6,500 feet) above sea level such as at many mountain ski resorts, equivalent to a pressure of 80 kPa. AMS is the most frequent type of altitude sickness encountered. Symptoms often manifest themselves 6 to 10 hours after ascent and generally subside in 1 to 2 days, but they occasionally develop into the more serious conditions. Symptoms are described as headache with fatigue, stomach sickness, dizziness, and sleep disturbance as additional possible symptoms. Exertion aggravates the symptoms.

High altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) and cerebral edema (HACE) are the most ominous of these symptoms, while acute mountain sickness, retinal haemorrhages, and peripheral edema are the less severe forms of the disease. The rate of ascent, the altitude attained, the amount of physical activity at high altitude, as well as individual susceptibility, are contributing factors to the incidence and severity of high-altitude illness.

Altitude sickness usually occurs following a rapid ascent and can usually be prevented by ascending slowly [4]. In most of these cases, the symptoms are only temporary and usually abate with time as altitude acclimatisation occurs. However, in more extreme cases symptoms can be fatal.

The word "soroche" came from South America and originally meant "ore", because of an old wrong belief that it was caused by toxic emanations of ores in the Andes mountains. [1]


[edit] Signs and symptoms

This sign near the peak of Mount Evans (elev. 14264 ft or 4,350 metres) in Colorado, USA, warns of altitude sickness symptoms.Headache is a primary symptom used to diagnose altitude sickness, although headache is also a symptom of dehydration. A headache occurring at an altitude above 2,400 meters (8000 feet = 76 kPa), combined with any one or more of the following symptoms, could be an indication of altitude sickness.

Lack of appetite, nausea, or vomiting
Fatigue or weakness
Dizziness or light-headedness
Insomnia
Pins and needles
Shortness of breath upon exertion
Persistent rapid pulse
Drowsiness
General malaise
Peripheral edema (swelling of hands, feet, and face).

Symptoms of life-threatening conditions resulting from extreme altitude sickness include:
pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs):-
persistent dry cough
fever
shortness of breath even when resting
cerebral edema (swelling of the brain):-
headache that does not respond to analgesics
unsteady walking
increasing vomiting
gradual loss of consciousness.

Severe cases:
The most serious symptoms of altitude sickness are due to edema (fluid accumulation in the tissues of the body). At very high altitude, humans can get either high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE), or high altitude cerebral edema (HACE). The physiological cause of altitude-induced edema is not conclusively established. It is currently believed, however, that HACE is caused by local vasodilation of cerebral blood vessels in response to hypoxia, resulting in greater blood flow and, consequently, greater capillary pressures. On the other hand, HAPE may be due to general vasoconstriction in the pulmonary circulation (normally a response to regional ventilation-perfusion mismatches) which, with constant or increased cardiac output, also leads to increases in capillary pressures. For those suffering HACE, dexamethasone may provide temporary relief from symptoms in order to keep descending under their own power.

HAPE occurs in ~2% of those who are adjusting to altitudes of ~3000 m (10,000 feet = 70 kPa) or more. It can progress rapidly and is often fatal. Symptoms include fatigue, severe dyspnea at rest, and cough that is initially dry but may progress to produce pink, frothy sputum. Descent to lower altitudes alleviates the symptoms of HAPE.

HACE is a life threatening condition that can lead to coma or death. It occurs in about 1% of people adjusting to altitudes above ~2700 m (9,000 feet = 73 kPa). Symptoms include headache, fatigue, visual impairment, bladder dysfunction, bowel dysfunction, loss of coordination, paralysis on one side of the body, and confusion. Descent to lower altitudes may save those afflicted with HACE.


Prevention

Altitude acclimatization
Altitude acclimatization is the process of adjusting to decreasing oxygen levels at higher elevations, in order to avoid altitude sickness. Once above approximately 3,000 metres (10,000 feet = 70 kPa), most climbers and high altitude trekkers follow the "golden rule" - climb high, sleep low. For high altitude climbers, a typical acclimatization regime might be to stay a few days at a base camp, climb up to a higher camp (slowly), then return to base camp. A subsequent climb to the higher camp would then include an overnight stay. This process is then repeated a few times, each time extending the time spent at higher altitudes to let the body "get used" to the oxygen level there, a process that involves the production of additional red blood cells. Once the climber has acclimatised to a given altitude, the process is repeated with camps placed at progressively higher elevations. The general rule of thumb is to not ascend more than 300 metres (1,000 feet) per day to sleep. That is, one can climb from 3,000 (10,000 feet = 70 kPa) to 4,500 metres (15,000 feet = 58 kPa) in one day, but one should then descend back to 3,300 metres (11,000 feet = 67.5 kPa) to sleep. This process cannot safely be rushed, and this explains why climbers need to spend days (or even weeks at times) acclimatising before attempting to climb a high peak. Simulated altitude equipment that produce hypoxic (reduced oxygen) air can be used to acclimate to altitude, reducing the total time required on the mountain itself.

Acetazolamide
Acetazolamide may help some people in speeding up the acclimatisation process and can treat mild cases of altitude sickness.


Sumatriptan
A single randomized controlled trial found that sumatriptan may be able to prevent altitude sickness.[5]


Oxygen enrichment
In high-altitude conditions, oxygen enrichment can counteract the effects of altitude sickness, or hypoxia. A small amount of supplemental oxygen reduces the equivalent altitude in climate-controlled rooms. At 3,400 m (67 kPa), raising the oxygen concentration level by 5 percent via an oxygen concentrator and an existing ventilation system provides an effective altitude of 3,000 m (70 kPa), which is more tolerable for surface-dwellers.[6] The most effective source of supplemental oxygen at high altitude are oxygen concentrators that use vacuum swing adsorption (VSA) technology.[neutrality disputed] As opposed to generators that use pressure swing adsorption (PSA), VSA technology does not suffer from performance degradation at increased altitude. The lower air density actually facilitates the vacuum step process.

Other methods
For centuries, indigenous cultures of the Altiplano, such as the Aymaras, have used coca leaves to treat mild altitude sickness. Drinking plenty of water will also help in acclimatisation to replace the fluids lost through heavier breathing in the thin, dry air found at altitude, although consuming excessive quantities ("over-hydration") has no benefits.

Treatment
The only real cure once symptoms appear is for the sufferer to move to a lower altitude as quickly as possible. For serious cases of AMS, a Gamow bag can be used to reduce the effective altitude by as much as 1,500 meters (5,000 feet). A Gamow bag is a portable plastic pressure bag inflated with a foot pump.

Acetazolamide may treat mild cases of altitude sickness.

Patients can sometimes control mild altitude sickness by consciously taking ten to twelve large, rapid breaths every five minutes.[citation needed] If overdone, this can remove too much carbon dioxide and cause tingling in the extremities of the body. Other treatments include injectable steroids to reduce pulmonary edema, and inflatable pressure vessels to relieve and evacuate severe mountain-sick persons.

In Peru hotels on the shore of Lake Titicaca at 3,812 m (12,507 feet = 63.1 kPa) offer oxygenated bedrooms at a premium charge. The same is true at the Monasterio hotel in Cuzco at the lower elevation of 3,500 m (11,500 feet = 65.7 kPa)[7].

The folk remedy for altitude sickness in Peru and Bolivia is a tea made from the coca plant.

TMI, but all bases were covered! Tim
 

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Other methods
For centuries, indigenous cultures of the Altiplano, such as the Aymaras, have used coca leaves to treat mild altitude sickness. Drinking plenty of water will also help in acclimatisation to replace the fluids lost through heavier breathing in the thin, dry air found at altitude, although consuming excessive quantities ("over-hydration") has no benefits.
Many people that travel in South America to visit Machu Picchu take Mate de Coca or coca tea to deal with the altitude sickness before it happens. You can pick up a box of Mate de Coca off of Amazon.com
 

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All very good advice. I have heard about the onion, not sure if it works I have never tried it.

Everyone should just remember to take it slow and DRINK PLENTY OF WATER. You will on your first run need to water the trees quite a bit. ;)

Take it easy!!!
 
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