Apart from low air pressure and reduced oxygen, other factoroften contribute to the onset of altitude sickness. For example:
• Lack of acclimatisation.
• Over-exertion and rapid ascent.
• Possible dehydration.
• Possible hypothermia.
• Existing medical problems.
Statistically, few people have ventured to higher altitudes, but from the evidence available there appearto be no known group or factorthat make a person susceptible to altitude sickness. Age, sex, and physical condition seem to matter lesthan acclimatisation.
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Altitude sicknesiusually described in three different forms. They are:
Acute Mountain Sicknesithe most common form of altitude sickness. It can be experienced at altitudealow a1,200 metre(4,000 feet) but imore common when patientquickly climb to altitudeof 2,700 metre(9,000 feet). Svmptomare noticed some hourafter the ascent, and have been compared to a hangover.
Nausea and sometimevomiting
Mild symptomthat feel like hangover/not feeling well r Fatigue and tirednesr Shortnesot breath r Sleep disturbance r Dizziness.
Severe casemay also suffer from breathlessnesand chest tightnes(which are signof HAPE), or confusion, lethargy and unsteady walking (which are signof HACE).
High Altitude Pulmonary Edema can be described in simple termawater in the lungs. If the capillary blood vesselleak fluid, it can collect in the lungand cause severe breathing problems. The symptommay not be noticed until a day or two after a fast ascent. Symptominclude: