What is Acute Mountain Sickness?

AMS, generally known as Acute Mountain Sickness is a particularly important medical consideration while trekking in high Himalayas of Nepal.  High altitude sickness means the effect of altitude on those who ascend too rapidly to elevations above 3000/10,000 ft.  The occurrence of AMS is dependent upon the elevation, the rate of ascent, and individual susceptibility. Many people will experience mild AMS during the acclimatization process and this is actually more common in fit young people because they are more likely to try a fast climb by racing up the mountain like some indestructible super hero! As a general rule, it is far safer and more enjoyable to avoid altitude sickness by planning a sensible itinerary that allows for gradual acclimatization to altitude as you ascend, but you could run back down as fast as you like! The symptoms of AMS include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, Loss of appetite.
  • Disturbed sleep/Insomnia, persistent headache.
  • Dizziness, light headedness, confusion, disorientation, drunken gait.
  • Weakness, fatigue, lassitude, heavy legs, slight swelling of hands and face.
  • Shortness of breath and breathing irregularity, reduced urine output.
  • General feeling of malaise

These symptoms are must be considered very seriously. In case of an appearance of any of the above mentioned symptoms any further ascent should be avoided otherwise more serious, even life-threatening troubles might happen. The only cure for Altitude Sickness is to descend to lower elevations immediately. Acclimatization by ascending to no more than 300 to 500 meters per day above 3000 meters, and the proper amount of rest and dehydrations are the best methods for prevention of AMS, So, gentle ascent is always pleasing to try to avoid acute mountain sickness. The trekking itineraries in this site are designed to ensure maximum enjoyment of trek and to minimize possible hazardous happening. 

Some basic guidelines for the prevention of AMS:-

  • Don´t fly or drive to high altitude. Start from below 3,000 and walk up.
  • Climb high and sleep low!
  • Increase your altitude by 300-500 meters per day only.
  • Stay properly hydrated and drinks enough water.
  • Urine output should be copious and clear to pale yellow.
  • Avoid tobacco, alcohol and other depressant drugs
  • Eat a high calorie diet while at altitude.
  • If someone is sick in group, shouldn’t be left behind.
  • He/she needs help and care.
  •  If symptoms are appearing, GO DOWN, DOWN, DOWN!

 In conclusion, there are no worries about it for a perfect trekking but, light activity during the day is better than sleeping because respiration decreases during sleep, exacerbating the symptoms. Thanking you!

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