High Altitude: Acclimatization and Illnesses

dranirban

Member
Diamox works best if you take as prophylactic (one day before you ascend). Diamox contains acetazolamide which is a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor(inhibits carbonic anhydrase enzyme which helps in formation of carbonic acid and latter formation of Hydrogen and bicarbonate ion) diuretics (means which helps in more urine production). Acetazolamide makes blood more acidic (by excreting bicarbonate), which in turn stimulates lungs to ventilate more which is the main goal in high altitude due to less oxygen in air.
 

sfilinto

New Member
Very informative post !!
I have some questions:

Since Diamox is a sulfonamide drug, people who are allergic to sulfa drugs should not take Diamox. Diamox has also been known to cause severe allergic reactions to people with no previous history of Diamox or sulfa allergies.
How can somebody know in advance is they are alergic to sulfa drugs ? any tester dose available ? or would taking a couple of tablets give some indiacation before the alergy sets in ??

In addition, for reasons not entirely understood, high altitude and lower air pressure causes fluid to leak from the capillaries which can cause fluid build-up in both the lungs and the brain.
what do we do to reverse the effects of fluid buildup in the lungs & the brain ?
 

anupmathur

Super Moderator
Staff member
...
How can somebody know in advance is they are alergic to sulfa drugs ? any tester dose available ? or would taking a couple of tablets give some indiacation before the alergy sets in ??
Trial run before you leave home. Take a tab a few days before leaving home to see whether your system accepts it.

...what do we do to reverse the effects of fluid buildup in the lungs & the brain ?
Come down to lower altitude, if there is no hospital to treat you.
Descent by as little as 500 feet helps.
HAPE and HACE are serious conditions. :eek:
 

kedar7

PassionforTrekking&Travel
From my own experience effects of AMS can be dangerous as i saw within my own group.when we had gone to leh we had flown directly and except the first day we didn't have any acclimatization time as such and on second day we went to changla itself.My cousin had taken a bike to the top and was perfectly fine that day.for those of us sitting in the car had some issues(temporary dizziness,headache) when we stepped out directly at high altitude.But its totally amazing what a few meters of descend can do to AMS !.

Although we had taken Dimox with us we decided to use it only in case someone needed it badly..on the next day we had planned to k-top where we had ditched the bikes and everyone was traveling in the car and there we had lots of issues. my cousin's wife's hands started feeling numb and we were really scared.They had to be given oxygen dose on the way back.After that 2 days later my cousin had HAPE and its no joke.we were lucky to identify it quickly and get him hospitalized. there were lots of ifs and buts later on ,like being on a bike while riding to the top is better then being in a car or if dimox is taken whether or not HAPE will occur or not.So its better to be prepared with all the possibilities at such high altitudes when u are going for the first time or not physically fit.
 

Admin01

Administrator
Very informative post !!
I have some questions:



How can somebody know in advance is they are alergic to sulfa drugs ? any tester dose available ? or would taking a couple of tablets give some indiacation before the alergy sets in ??



what do we do to reverse the effects of fluid buildup in the lungs & the brain ?
As far as finding allergy goes, there are tests available for it, which are far safer than taking a test dose, even at home!

As for reversing the effects of fluid build up, well I guess that would depend on the severity of the situation and since I am not a doctor, I can't comment on what exactly would be the procedure, but for mild cases, as far as I know, it can be fixed with medication.

From my own experience effects of AMS can be dangerous as i saw within my own group.when we had gone to leh we had flown directly and except the first day we didn't have any acclimatization time as such and on second day we went to changla itself.My cousin had taken a bike to the top and was perfectly fine that day.for those of us sitting in the car had some issues(temporary dizziness,headache) when we stepped out directly at high altitude.But its totally amazing what a few meters of descend can do to AMS !.

Although we had taken Dimox with us we decided to use it only in case someone needed it badly..on the next day we had planned to k-top where we had ditched the bikes and everyone was traveling in the car and there we had lots of issues. my cousin's wife's hands started feeling numb and we were really scared.They had to be given oxygen dose on the way back.After that 2 days later my cousin had HAPE and its no joke.we were lucky to identify it quickly and get him hospitalized. there were lots of ifs and buts later on ,like being on a bike while riding to the top is better then being in a car or if dimox is taken whether or not HAPE will occur or not.So its better to be prepared with all the possibilities at such high altitudes when u are going for the first time or not physically fit.
Biggest misconception about Diamox is, that it will help, after you have been severely hit by AMS, as far as I can tell from personal experience, it doesn't works that way! You have to take it, before AMS hits you and you have to take the proper dosage, till you are fully acclimatized to the high altitude.
 

sandeep9868

Sirfira Trekker
Biggest misconception about Diamox is, that it will help, after you have been severely hit by AMS, as far as I can tell from personal experience, it doesn't works that way! You have to take it, before AMS hits you and you have to take the proper dosage, till you are fully acclimatized to the high altitude.
Truly said YS. Also there is a tablet comes with Dexamethasone salt, it helps in AMS and allow the person to withstand its symptoms till he/she descended down to lower altitude (Note: It'll not cure the AMS but reduce the symptoms and provide little more time so that a person can safely return to lower altitude). The side effects of this drug is severe, so advisable to consume only in dire need and if this is the only hope.

This is a powerful steroid and can be used in high altitude trekking, for Leh you may need diamox only or ascend slowely.
 
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DKay

Super User
AVVA by Intas is a substitute to Diamox (same chemicals) and its half the price!! Intas is a known company so the tablet is good.

Best way to check if you allergic to the medicine before you leave home is to break the tablet into small pieces and try the smallest one. Try another small piece after 12 hours and see if you get any allergy/ discomfort. The only side affect of sulpha drugs if you not allergic to them (in prescribed amount i.e.) is increased urination

Acetamolozides affect on kids are not yet known so avoid giving it to them
 

vikram_04

New Member
Very Imformative Article and good tips provided. I wish i had read it on my previous trips at North Sikkim. A similar tour to Gurudongmar Lake (17100 FT) and Zero point (15000 FT) fabov e sea level.

Hope this help in touring to Ladhak this year....

I have few questions

1. Does climate have any impact on AMS ?

2. Is it advisable to Travel to Ladhak in month of August ?
 

Admin01

Administrator
Cold weather can make things worse, though I don't the actual scientific reason for it, but I feel oxygen becomes slightly less and add to that, body needs to burn more calorie to keep warm, thus requiring more oxygen.

August is considered as one of the best month to visit Ladakh, though you will find monsoon in rest of North India. Ladakh isn't supposed to get much rain as it falls in rain shadow area, but with changing climate, this isn't always the case.
 
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