Altitude sickness, Part 1

How do you prepare for the rigorous physical requirements of high elevation adventure? Strength and endurance are key, but are only part of a more complex equation. How do you prepare for changes in altitude, exposure, diet, etc.? How do you mentally prepare? Learn from others and share what you know about training in advance for outdoor adventures.
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Wandering Daisy
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Re: Altitude sickness, Part 1

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:31 am

Does everyone's body react to a specific blood pH, or do different individuals have different pH trigger points? OR is the pH trigger the same in everyone, but some people have other physiologic mechanisms that keeps their blood from getting to the undesirable pH? I would imagine your red blood cells have something to do with it, after all that is how you acclimate- get more red blood cells.








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Re: Altitude sickness, Part 1

Post by Harlen » Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:25 pm

gregw822:
This will do for an introduction. if the topic is relevant and of interest, I will continue in Part 2 with how this applies to altitude sickness and about what Diamox does to prevent the condition.
By all means-- Part 2! I am one of the unfortunates who suffer from altitude easily, and severely, though never in the Sierra. Lizzie and I also worried about taking our babies up to high elevation, though we found little evidence that they would suffer for it, we were always pretty careful. We did sleep on top of Kearsarge Pass once with Ryan as an infant. And he climbed Shepherd's Crest as an 8 month-old inside Lizzie, and seemed to love it! :nod:

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Re: Altitude sickness, Part 1

Post by gregw822 » Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:51 pm

I've been reading, and the rabbit hole keeps getting deeper. I can read chemistry literature, but physiology is a tough go, and mostly I've been reading things we don't know about how altitude sickness works. It may take a couple days to put something together that's clear and on point. I'll get there.

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Re: Altitude sickness, Part 1

Post by maverick » Thu Apr 08, 2021 1:12 pm

I swear, whatever I write, no matter how many times I read for edits, there is always at least one typoe.
Two. :)
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Re: Altitude sickness, Part 1

Post by c9h13no3 » Thu Apr 08, 2021 2:24 pm

maverick wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 1:12 pm
I swear, whatever I write, no matter how many times I read for edits, there is always at least one typoe.
Two. :)
If Edgar Allen makes a mistake, is it a tyPoe?

Yeah, I'm sorry about that one...
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Re: Altitude sickness, Part 1

Post by bobby49 » Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:17 pm

The medical types pretty much understand how altitude sickness works. The problem is inconsistency. Some humans are never affected. Some humans are severely affected. Most humans are somewhere in between. Some humans can have twenty successful trips to high altitude, and then on trip #21 they get sick.

Some people take Diamox to avoid problems. In other people, the Diamox causes the problems. To me, the side effects of Diamox are small compared to the risks of getting full-blown altitude sickness, HAPE, or HACE.

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Re: Altitude sickness, Part 1

Post by gregw822 » Fri Apr 09, 2021 8:39 am

I'm learning quite a bit by reading background information. The physiology is sort-of understood. It's not sImple, even the Diamox material, but that's true of biochemistry in general. I have a draft of Part 2 written, but today I'm going fishing. There are March Browns everywhere up here.

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Re: Altitude sickness, Part 1

Post by Harlen » Sat Apr 10, 2021 9:22 pm

bobby49 wrote:
The problem is inconsistency. Some humans are never affected....
You are absolutely right in the first statement, which is an interesting point, and important to know. For instance, altitude sickness can affect the strongest member of a climbing party, seemingly as easily as it attacks the weakest. However, I am pretty sure that anyone who decided to fly into even a base camp of 18,000' from a low elevation, would soon be suffering AMS, and getting worse. Of course, this becomes a certainty if they preceded to climb above that level. Sherpa folks, and others who have lived their entire lives at high elevation do have greater tolerance due to higher hemoglobin levels, I believe but they too will suffer if they remain too long up high.

U.S. high altitude climber extaordinaire Ed Viesturs states in his book that he thinks that people naturally born with high lung capacity will tend to do well at high elevation. He notes that he was one of those people who registered high on the chart when blowing into a device to test lungs. He also states that he could always hold his breath for long periods, and swim underwater for great distances. I was interested in this, because I have suffered AMS and HAPE, and happen to be one who never was any good at the above tricks.

I am interested in learning more, and appreciate this thread.

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