What is altitude sickness?
Unidentified mountaineers descend from the summit of Everest on May 19, 2009.
May 21st, 2012
06:39 PM ET

What is altitude sickness?

The 8000ers is an exclusive group, and the of cost of entry is high. Really high.

There are only 14 peaks in the world that extend 8,000 meters (26,247 feet)  into the atmosphere, including, of course, Earth's highest point - Mt. Everest. Unfortunately for some, the thrill of reaching that monumental 8,000-meter mark comes with more than just bragging rights. Altitude sickness, a potentially deadly risk of climbing, can set in at 8,000 feet (2,400 meters). And during the weekend, that was the fatal illness that befell some Everest hikers who paid the ultimate price.

Here are some of the telltale signs of and tips for combating altitude sickness:

Climb slowly. According to the National Institutes of Health, you are more likely to get acute mountain sickness if you climb faster and exert a lot of energy.

Stay hydrated, and eat your carbs. Expert's can't say for sure what causes altitude sickness, but longstanding advice says drink lots of (nonalcoholic) fluids, avoid sleeping pills or medicine that can affect breathing, and eat your carbs.

Take ibuprofen. Ibuprofen fights brain swelling, which, in rare cases, can be a fatal aspect of altitude sickness.

Know the symptoms. Other symptoms the National Institutes of Health says to look out for:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Rapid pulse (heart rate)
  • Shortness of breath with exertion
  • Bluish discoloration of the skin (cyanosis)
  • Chest tightness or congestion
  • Confusion
  • Cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Decreased consciousness or withdrawal from social interaction
  • Gray or pale complexion
  • Inability to walk in a straight line, or to walk at all
  • Shortness of breath at rest
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Filed under: Health • Uncategorized
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Portland tony

    Anybody climbing above 8000 ft would know all this. Jeez!

    May 21, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rachel

    The best medicine of all? STAY OFF THE DANG MOUNTAIN!!!!!!

    It is flat out STUPID to climb so high when your fate of endurance/survival is unknown.

    They played, and now they paid. Such a sad, pathetic case.

    May 21, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      Ah....without risk....there is no reward! The disaster on Everest was caused by too many people trying for the summit (some 250) during a break in the weather! They got in each others way and over extended their endurance.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ralph J. Monasterio

    Did they DIE as they were "DESCENDING?" It was probably "the bends". This is NO DIFFERENT if an UNDERWATER human CLIMBS up 100 feet to the SURFACE.......without PRESSURIZATION, and taking a DEEP BREATH, and as you ASCEND........"using the blow and go method" as you go up ASCENDING to the surface of the water.......TO AVOID THE BENDS.
    I know.....because they TAUGHT us HOW TO ASCEND from 100 feet down below, using the "blow and go method." in SUBMARINE SCHOOL, New London, Connecticut...1960

    May 21, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Greek American

    THANKS for THAT info RALPH. We STILL have NO idea WHAT you're talking ABOUT though. Can I get some BLOW AND GO?

    May 21, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      BEHAVE, Greek AMERican. Lol....

      May 21, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • ♚Mmmmm♛

      lol...y'all peeple are so cRaZiEeee'

      May 21, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. chrissy

    OMG lmfao @ greek american, you are cracking me up AGAIN tonight! And i thought last nights comment was funny, this is even better! Seriously tho, several people DID die on Everest this weekend.

    May 21, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. chrissy

    With over l50 people up there that late in the day, i guess its lucky there werent more than 4 deaths.Still a sad thing for those families.

    May 22, 2012 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  7. Superman

    @@@greek american,,,superman here i can blow but then you would have to go!!!!!! Superman here/ gay superman lmao

    May 22, 2012 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
  8. Superman

    Some years ago billy squire was in that region,,,he asked if he could be droppes off on the summit by chopper ! Can yiu believe it! Thats a true story!! He was told a helicopter cannot fly that high,,, and if he was droppes off up there he would be dead in 30 minutes what a way to go lay down to sleep

    May 22, 2012 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
  9. Superman

    Heart goes out to the deceased and the families,,,these people lived there dreams,,,and those dreams came true,,,for some that dont understand will you never will,,,why do we climb not just because its there but because WE CAN LIVE OUR LIFES as freely as we choose and so can those that dont climb love you all!!!

    May 22, 2012 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
  10. Superman

    @@@ jazzy thank you for your support from this climber superman here its the greatest artistic form of self expression there is besides painting or dancing i commend you on your post

    May 22, 2012 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
  11. Flugenfeldt Jones

    I don't understand why they don't wear spacesuits and go up in a balloon and use parachutes.
    It would be way safer and they could poop in their suits and no one would know!

    May 22, 2012 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
  12. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    Why are few of my comments posted now? Are my sentences too Henry James?
    Is it because I identified myself as a Republican, although a social progressive and a fiscal moderate?
    Don't worry, CNN: I voted for Obama and support his present campaign.
    My rejected comment on this topic read, in effect, that it is heroic to try to climb Mt. Everest, even if one dies in the attempt.

    May 22, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  13. Not Joey @ 11:43 not Jazzy @ 12:16

    Hit the road *Jacker*

    May 22, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

      Yes, it was I at 11:43 and 11:54. I'd tried to get several posts through.

      May 22, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    Well, I got one comment posted.
    That's as Hemingway-journalism dull as I can make my writing.

    May 22, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  15. I Believe!

    This sounds like the Joey Isotta-Fraschini that I know. I believe it's him.
    No one has posted as jazzy for a long time; can't jack what isn't there.

    May 22, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
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