When the oxygen saturation in your blood drops, your muscles can’t work as hard causing fatigue. The more you ascend to the higher altitudes, the more oxygen will be less. Normally, no traveler will be suffered from altitude sickness below 4000 m. high. But this is not the case always. Those who lack good stamina, physical fitness, those who drink a lot of alcohol and smoke will likely suffer altitude sickness.
If you get altitude sickness, you will have mild and common symptoms including headaches (also a symptom of dehydration), low appetite, and restless sleep. Likewise, moderate symptoms include vomiting, fatigue, and diarrhea. Many people also compare altitude sickness to the sensations of having a hangover. But, blue lips and fingernails, severe difficulty breathing, poor coordination, fatigue, and drowsiness are severe symptoms. The symptoms mainly get worsen at night time.
In order to avoid altitude sickness, we recommend you to walk down to the lower altitude, hydrate sufficiently, and maintain nutrition. In case you have these above-mentioned symptoms, inform our guide since he will be far more experienced than you. If the symptoms of altitude sickness are neglected, It might lead to various life-threatening diseases such as High altitude cerebral oedema (HACE) and High altitude pulmonary oedema (HAPE).
High Altitude Cerebral Oedema (HACE)
High altitude Cerebral Oedema is the swelling of the brain due to lack of oxygen. A person who is suffering from HACE will not know they are ill. They might insist that they are fine. It can develop really quickly and can be fatal if it is not treated soon.
Symptoms of HACE are
- Feeling sick
- Feeling of confused
- Loss of coordination
The main treatment for HACE is Dexamethasone. Dexamethasone is one of the steroid medicine that reduces swelling of the brain. It's often carried by professional mountain climbers as part of their medical supplies which helps them to treat against HACE. If you are unable to go down then you can take Dexamethasone which will help you relieve the symptoms. You should go to the hospital as soon as you come down from a high altitude.
High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema (HAPE)
High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema is the build-up of fluid in the lungs. The symptoms of HAPE can appear after you have reached the highest altitude. It can be fatal if it is not treated on time.
Symptoms of HAPE are
- Tightness in Chest
- Blue lips and fingernail
- Difficulties breathing even when resting
- Constant cough, causing white or pink sputum
- Weakness and tiredness
Nifedipine is a medicine that helps to reduce chest tightness and make breathing easier. This medicine is taken by expert mountain climbers. If you see these symptoms then you should go to the hospital as soon you go down from the high altitude.