Altitude sickness

Web publication date: 18 March 2010 (based on October 2009 search)

David Murdoch

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Altitude sickness (or high-altitude illness) includes acute mountain sickness, high-altitude pulmonary oedema, and high-altitude cerebral oedema. Acute mountain sickness typically occurs at altitudes greater than 2500 m (about 8000 feet), and is characterised by the development of some or all of the symptoms of headache, weakness, fatigue, listlessness, nausea, insomnia, and suppressed appetite. Symptoms may take days to develop or may occur within hours, depending on the rate of ascent and the altitude attained. More severe forms of altitude sickness have been identified. High-altitude pulmonary oedema is characterised by symptoms and signs typical of pulmonary oedema, such as shortness of breath, coughing, and production of frothy or blood-stained sputum. more. High-altitude cerebral oedema is characterised by confusion, ataxia, and a decreasing level of consciousness. This review covers only acute mountain sickness.

Latest citations

Ibuprofen Prevents Altitude Illness: A Randomized Controlled Trial for Prevention of Altitude Illness With Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatories. (29 January 2013)

Effects of acetazolamide on central blood pressure, peripheral blood pressure, and arterial distensibility at acute high altitude exposure. (29 January 2013)