Your symptoms will depend on the speed of your climb and how hard you push yourself. Symptoms range from mild to life threatening. They can effect the nervous system, lungs, muscles and heart. In most case, symtoms are mild. Symptoms of mild to moderate acute mountian sickness may include;
Symtoms that may occur with more severe acute mountian sickness include:
Early diagnosis is important. Acute mountian sickness is easier to treat in the early stage. The treatment for all forms is to climb down to a lower altitude as a rapidly and safely as possible. You should not continue climbing if you develop symptoms.
Extra oxigen should be given, if avialable.
Poeple with severe symptom may need to be admitted to a hospital
Acetazolamide (Diamox) may be given to help you breathe better. It can help reduce mild symptoms. This medicine can make you urinate more often. Make sure you drink Plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol when taking this drug. This medication works best when taken before reeaching a high altitude.
If you have fliulds in your lungs (pulmonary edema), treatment may include
Dexamethasone (Decatron) may help reduce swelling in the brain (cerebral edema).
Portable hyperbaric chambers allow hikers to simulate conditions at lower altitudes without actually moving from their location on the mountain. These devices are very helpful if bad weather or other factors make climbing down the mountian impossible.
Keys to preventing acute mountain sickness include;
If you are traveling above 3000 meters, you should carry enough oxygen for several days. If you plan on quickly climbing to a high altitude, ask your doctor about a medicaition called acetaolamide (Dimox). This drug helps your body get used to higher altitudes more quickly, and reduce minor symptoms. It should be taken the day before you climb and then for the next 1 to 2 days.
If you are at risk for a low red blood count (anemia), Ask you doctor if an iron supplement is right for you. Anemia lowers the amount of oxygen in your blood. This makes you more likely to have mountian sickness. While climbing: