High Altitude Illness

Post #1 of 6:

The most recent issue of the Wilderness Medicine Newsletter, Nov/Dec 2006, is dedicated to the recognition and management of high altitude illnesses. To follow is a series of postings regarding high altitude illnesses, recognition, and management.

What is High Altitude?
The scientific consensus for the definitions of altitude are:

High altitude: 1500 – 3500m (5000 – 11500ft)
Very High Altitude: 3500 – 5500m (11500 – 18000ft)
Extreme High Altitude: above 5500m (18000ft)
18,000′ (5500m) is ½ atmosphere


As you go Higher it gets COLDER & DRYER, less and less OXYGEN, and more and more UV LIGHT that combing to CAUSE:

Dehydration (exhale 250cc of water per hour or 6 liters per day)
Hypothermia (may need up to 6000 calories per day)
Frostbite (dehydration contributes to the risk of frostbite)
Snow blindness (UV light concentration increases 4% every 1000′)
Severe sunburn (UV light concentration increases 4% every 1000′)
Acute Mountain Sickness (signs of lack of acclimatization)
High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (wet lungs)
High Altitude Cerebral Edema (wet brain)

This blog is powered by the Wilderness Medicine Newsletter, now celebrating 20 years of publication. The WMN is published and distributed online six times each year by TMC Books, and subscriptions cost as little as $10 per year. To find out more, or to subscribe online, click here.


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