Posted on : 29 March 2019
WHAT IS ALTITUDE SICKNESS
The altitude sickness or called soroche, is the lack of adaptation of the organism to the hypoxia (lack of oxygen) to the altitude. The severity of the disorder is directly related to the speed of ascent and the altitude reached. These symptoms usually disappear when you descend to lower levels. besides that it normally occurs from 2,400 meters of altitude, to the so-called area of death at 7,500 meters of altitude.
The main cause of this affliction is hypoxia (lack of oxygen in the body). The atmospheric pressure decreases with the altitude, which affects the bioavailability of oxygen, since the pulmonary alveoli are not able to transport the same amount of oxygen to the blood as in a situation of higher pressure. Although it is known that hypoxia is the cause of the altitude sickness the exact mechanism by which it causes it is still unknown.
CAUSES OF ALTITUDE SICKNESS
The amount of oxygen available to sustain mental and psychological attention decreases as altitude increases. The availability of oxygen and nitrogen, as well as the density, decrease as the altitude increases.
Dehydration due to an accelerated loss of water in the form of vapor due to altitude can contribute to the symptoms of altitude sickness. The rapidity with which one ascends, the initial height, the physical activity, as well as the individual susceptibility are factors that contribute to this malaise.
Altitude sickness can be prevented by climbing slowly. In most cases, the symptoms are temporary and are usually reduced as aclimatation occurs. However, in extreme cases, altitude sickness can be fatal.
SYMPTOMS OF ALTITUDE SICKNESS
- Headache (headache)
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Lack of appetite.
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Difficulty breathing
- Heart racing
- Physical exhaustion.
- Sleep disorders, which may be either drowsiness or insomnia. Episodes of sudden nocturnal dyspnea (waking up suddenly with a feeling of suffocation) due to the so-called Cheyne-Stokes breathing during sleep may also occur.
- The most severe forms of altitude sickness are rare but can be very serious. High-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) happens when there’s excess fluid on the lungs, causing breathlessness, high fever and coughing up frothy fluid. High-altitude cerebral edema (HACE) happens when there’s fluid on the brain, causing severe confusion, clumsiness or strange behavior that can include violence. Both conditions can be fatal within hours and while these two forms of altitude sickness are unlikely, if you begin to feel truly awful, play it safe and head to the nearest hospital or get yourself down to a lower elevation as soon as possible.
HOW TO PREVENT THE ALTITUDE SICKNESS; ACCLIMATIZATION
Good physical shape or physical preparation, however excellent these may be, do not prevent the altitude sickness at all.
This can occur at elevations as low as 2,500 meters above sea level and it is known that the susceptibility to suffer it is inversely proportional to the age of the person, probably due to the maturity of the nervous system. Most importantly, you can use drugs to prevent altitude sickness, but the progressively adapt to altitude hypoxia through a process called acclimatization is better.
It is very important to bear in mind that, despite following a calendar of acclimatization scrupulously, altitude sickness can occur at any time. It is also very important to stay perfectly hydrated (drink at least three to four liters of water daily) and a varied diet rich in carbohydrates.
WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF ALTITUDE SICKNESS
- Dont keep going up
- Go low as soon as you can
- Take it easy and rest
- Keep drinking enough water
- Try some local medicine
- You can try with sorochipill
- If the simptoms persist, get to the nearest hospital
In high-altitude conditions, oxygen enrichment can counteract the hypoxia related effects of altitude sickness. A small amount of supplemental oxygen reduces the equivalent altitude in climate-controlled rooms. At 3,400 metres (11,200 ft)
Oxygen from gas bottles or liquid containers can be applied directly via a nasal mask. Stationary oxygen concentrators typically use PSA technology, which has performance degradations at the lower barometric pressures at high altitudes.
There are also portable oxygen concentrators that can be used on vehicular DC power or on internal batteries, and at least one system commercially available measures and compensates for the altitude effect on its performance up to 4,000 m (13,000 ft). The application of high-purity oxygen from one of these methods increases the partial pressure of oxygen by raising the fraction of inspired oxygen.
HOW TO PREVENT ALTITUDE SICKNESS IN CUSCO AND MACHU PICCHU
8 ways to prevent altitude sickness in Cusco and Machu Picchu
BEFORE LEAVINNG HOUSE
In the U.S., Diamox (generic name: acetazolamide) is a prescription drug often used to treat glaucoma; however, it can also treat altitude sickness.
You need to take it 24 hours before arriving in Cusco, though, and a side effect of the drug is that you’ll probably need to pee more frequently—not very convenient when you’re traveling.
Bring chlorophyll drops.
(Yep, chlorophyll as in the green stuff from plants.) The idea behind this natural treatment is that the chlorophyll may increase the amount of red blood cells in your system; the more red blood cells there are, the more opportunities there are for oxygen to be absorbed, thereby reducing the effects of altitude sickness.
If you’re worried about green teeth or the taste of the drops, you can get chlorophyll soft gel caps instead.
ONCE YOU ARRIVE TO CUSCO
Drink lots of water.
This may not alleviate altitude sickness exactly, but sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between altitude sickness and dehydration, and high elevations tend to be very dry, meaning you need more water for proper hydration.
Drink coca tea.
You will find it everywhere in Cusco. Let’s clarify a few things: Yes, coca is the plant from which cocaine is made. However, coca leaves alone are not potent enough to be anything near to resembling the illegal drug; so yes, it’s totally safe to drink coca tea. However, don’t drink more than four or five cups, or else you could suffer heart palpitations.
These are plastic tubes filled with oxygen! They’re sold in almost every pharmacy in Cusco. However, many people claim it’s a gimmick. Yes, it contains real oxygen, but it’s such a small amount that it probably will have no effect on you. Your best bet is to go to a hotel or hospital that has real tanks of oxygen.
Avoid alcohol. (optional, lol)
The reasons for this are debated, but certain studies show that the effects of alcohol are enhanced at high altitude (You get drunk more easily). You can do it!!, wait the pisco sour until you are done with all your tours
Take it easy.
This is seriously the easiest—and most ignored—piece of advice for avoiding altitude sickness.
Remember, your body is trying to get accustomed to the lower amount of oxygen it’s getting; therefore it is of utmost importance that you take it easy the first few days you are in Cusco.
Take deep breaths.
Again, your body is trying to get oxygen, but there is less of it available in each breath. So take deep breaths to try to get more air in.