altitude sickness

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altitude sickness:

see decompression sicknessdecompression sickness,
physiological disorder caused by a rapid decrease in atmospheric pressure, resulting in the release of nitrogen bubbles into the body tissues. It is also known as caisson disease, altitude sickness, and the bends.
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Altitude Sickness


a pathological condition that arises upon ascent to great heights (above 3,000 m) resulting from lowered partial pressure of oxygen in inhaled air. The development of altitude sickness is associated with a disturbance of the function of certain organs and systems, chiefly of the cells of the higher sections of the central nervous system, resulting from oxygen starvation, or hypoxia. At heights under 3,000 m, a healthy person’s oxygen deficiency is compensated for by an increase in pulmonary ventilation (faster and deeper breathing), in blood circulation, and in hemoglobin and erythrocyte count in the blood. Further ascent brings on hypoxia, since the functions of the organism can no longer provide sufficient compensation. A shortage of oxygen in the surrounding air leads to lowered partial pressure of oxygen in the lungs and to lowered oxygen saturation of arterial blood. The major symptoms of altitude sickness include shortness of breath, heart palpitations, dizziness, noise in the ears, headache, nausea, weakness of the muscles, perspiration, blurred vision, sleepiness, and decreased stamina. The symptoms develop in phases, depending on the speed of ascent and on the functional state of the organism. Alcohol, fatigue, and insomnia lower the tolerance for great heights.

Treatments for altitude sickness include descent to a lower altitude, rest, cardiac medicines, and strong tea or coffee. In severe cases, inhalation of oxygen is called for. Inhalation of oxygen from a special apparatus while ascending to great heights prevents altitude sickness. Sports that increase the organism’s demand for oxygen and thus cause hypoxia develop the organism’s resistance to hypoxia. One variant of altitude sickness is mountain sickness. Along with an oxygen deficiency, other factors in mountain sickness are physical exhaustion, cold, and ultraviolet radiation. With acclimatization to the mountain climate, the symptoms of mountain sickness weaken. Relative stabilization of the physiological indexes begins after approximately a three-week stay in the mountains.


altitude sickness

[′al·tə‚tüd ‚sik·nəs]
In general, any sickness brought on by exposure to reduced oxygen tension and barometric pressure.

altitude sickness

In general, any sickness brought on by exposure to reduced partial pressure of oxygen and barometric pressure.
References in periodicals archive ?
3] The non-technical nature of many of these peaks allows many trekkers and climbers to ascend and descend rapidly enough to have returned to lower elevations before altitude illness has fully manifested.
Exactly a year earlier, while on an acclimatisation climb near Pokalde in preparation for an ascent of Everest, I had pushed too hard and begun to succumb to another type of severe altitude illness, high-altitude pulmonary oedema (HAPE).
HA = high altitude, HAI = high altitude illness, NA = not applicable, SD = standard deviation.
Following their excursions, study participants were asked to complete a questionnaire to determine if they had experienced any symptoms of high altitude illness.
Additional symptoms that may indicate altitude illness include vertigo, "feeling hung over," thirst, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), nightmares and change in vision with retinal hemorrhage, slowing of speech, excess flatulence, swelling of the hands and feet, and transient global amnesia.
Deployments after proper acclimatization according to protocols, education of the troops about high altitude illness and its prevention, can decrease the cases of acute high altitude illness.
Whenever I go to altitude I always carry a small advice book such as this one in my first aid kit to ensure I don't forget anything when diagnosing or treating altitude illness in a trekker, climber or porter
Sudden cardiac death (SCDs) [1], trauma, high altitude illness, cold injury and avalanche burial [7] have been reported as the common causes of death among high-altitude outdoor enthusiasts [10].
Later chapters detail appropriate responses to injuries involving the bones and soft tissue, toxins and allergies, hypothermia, lightning, altitude illness, and common medical problems.
Abbreviations: AMS = acute mountain sickness, AMS-C = cerebral AMS, ESQ = Environmental Symptoms Questionnaire, HA = high altitude, HAI = high altitude illness, LLS = Lake Louise Score, NSAID = nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, NVWSC = National Veterans Winter Sports Clinic, SCI = spinal cord injury, TBI = traumatic brain injury.
The Lake Louise Consensus on the definition and quantification of altitude illness.