Symptoms, Prevention, & Treatment Of Altitude Sickness

by Dr. Jason Barker February 06, 2017

Symptoms Of Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness or acute mountain sickness is caused by thinner air at altitude (which is typically above 7,500 feet). Symptoms are diverse, but unmistakable. They can range from very mild to life threatening. Mild symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dehydration
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • General unease

Many people liken altitude sickness to feeling ‘hung over’ from alcohol. This is why it’s always a good idea to take it easy on the booze when vacationing at high altitude! Alcohol will dehydrate you rapidly, and this is the last thing you want!

More severe altitude sickness symptoms require immediate medical treatment, and getting to a lower elevation as soon as possible. These include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Elevated blood pressure

Prevention is the best medicine for altitude sickness. Resting, staying hydrated and going slower once you arrive are key.

Prevention And Treatment Of Altitude Sickness

You’re at greater risk for acute mountain sickness the higher you go, and the faster you ascend. Here are a few easy ways to prevent altitude sickness:

  • Stay overnight at an elevation that is half or three quarters of your final destination altitude to let your body adapt.
  • Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption. It will just make your elevation sickness worse by dehydrating you.
  • Stay hydrated with something other than water. We really like Electrolye Energy Formula and use it when we leave our home (5,200 feet) and go up to the mountains around 9,500-10,000 feet.
  • Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb, meaning it will help your body utilize its energy more effectively. Rhodiola has been shown to improve performance at altitude.
  • A combination of Corvalen (D-Ribose), L-Carnitine, and CoEnzyme Q10 can boost energy and production of ATP (energy) within the cells.
  • Energy Formula is a complete multivitamin and mineral sports drink with natural energy boosters and electrolytes.
  • Cordyceps Sinensis is another botanical medicine that works well with rhodiola to improve energy production.

Any combination of the above will help you adapt to, and feel better when you go up to play at altitude. Give them a try, it beats feeling hung over from the altitude and having a lousy vacation!

Dr. Jason Barker
Dr. Jason Barker


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