Altitude Adjustment.. Any further updates?

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Altitude Adjustment.. Any further updates?

Postby PamelaDare » Sun Mar 18, 2007 4:20 pm

Here's one for those members in the Midwest and/or Western Continental region...

Being from the East, the altitude adjustment makes the idea of a short stay in Colorado or Utah virtually impossible. I did go to Keystone but lost two full days due to the acclimatization process (How naive--I had no idea that this was even a consideration. I had been to Whistler in the summer and thought 'the mountains--they're all the same, right?...." How wrong.;( )

I'm looking at Colorado as Whistler and the rest of the Can West is going to be quite busy with the Olympics.

Any updates would be helpful.

Last edited by PamelaDare on Tue Aug 18, 2009 12:20 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby welshscarry » Sun Mar 18, 2007 10:24 pm

Let's see. To Fully Acclimate, it is supposed to take 14 days.
Okay, well now you can forget that for a short vacation.

The key is..... before you come, be in the best aerobic shape that you can be in. I.e, running, swimming, stairmaster, elliptical.
Whatever floats your boat.

Many, many people come to Colo. and ski for 4 days, then head back East. I rode the chair lift this week with people from Alabama, South Carolina, and plenty from Texas. (none of them live at altitude!)

My girlfriend showed up from Ohio last week for 4 days in Vail.
She does do aerobic training on the Nordic Track, 5 days a week, for at least 30 to 45. minutes. She was fine.

Dealing with the altitude when you get here?
That means drinking lots of water, taking Advil or Tylenol for headaches, "taking it easier" than you might at home. Getting plenty of rest, and don't drink alchohol for at least the first day.
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Re: ALTITUDE ADJUSTMENT.. Any tricks to speed up the process

Postby alchook » Mon Mar 19, 2007 9:43 pm

Altitude sickness can hit you no matter what kind of aerobic shape you're in. If you're sensitive to altitude Summit County Colorado is probably the worst place you can go. It's one of the reasons I go to Utah. You have a 2000 foot advantage.

Taking Diamox can help the adjustment.
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Postby John » Tue Mar 20, 2007 6:49 am

Here's a link to a page from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has to say on the subject.

Drugs can help, taken either before hand or if symptoms develop.

Being in aerobic shape helps maintain endurance while living in the mountains. But "Susceptibility to altitude illness appears to be inherent in some way and is not affected by training or physical fitness."

Generally, drinking lots of water (and no alcohol) while in the mountains is a good thing too, though I don't know if that has any bearing on altitude sickness. It does seem to help me avoid headaches, which also happen to be a symptom of altitude sickness.

My first night in the mountains (even at 8,000 feet) usually gives me restless sleep.
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Altitude sickness

Postby Rob » Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:10 pm

The scientific evidence strongly suggests that your level of aerobic conditioning has little or nothing to do with suffering altitude sickness. Your mileage may vary.

If you are a susceptible person, traveling above 8,000 feet is most likely to provoke altitude illness.

Sleeping even one night at 5,000 or 6,000 feet will speed your adaptation.

Consider a hi-carb diet (pasta, rice, pancakes). Reduce fat.

Avoid alcohol, tranquilizers and sleeping pills, especially if you have symptoms.

If you have symptoms, take tylenol/aspirin for headache, Benadryl for nausea, avoid all alcohol. If symptoms progress to cough, vomiting, weakness or balance problems, seek medical care.

If you have shortness of breath at rest, seek medical care immediately.

OK, up to here I'm pretty certain this is correct because I have heard it from medical professionals in two mountain medical centers where they see LOTS of cases. (At one of them, Copper Mountain, I was put on oxygen and I was just attending a conference, not riding!.) I think the base at Copper is about 9000 or 9200 feet.

But the recommendation to drink lots of water is still a mystery to me. People, including a friend of mine who has skied for 30 years, say it is the key to avoiding the high-altitude-headache. I realize that any particular headache might be independent of the altitude illness syndrome, but since headache is one of the prime symptoms of altitude illness, it will always be hard to tell one from the other.

My question is this. Since the prescription medication for both prevention and treatment of altitude illness is a diuretic (Diamox) (which makes you pee), and since I (at least) seem to retain lots of fluid when I'm at altitude and not taking anything but tylenol, does it really make physiological sense to be drinking lots of water? Does anyone know the latest on this?
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Postby zip » Tue Jan 06, 2009 3:05 pm

What I heard is that diamox is a weak diuretic. How it helps with altitude sickness is that it changes your acid/base balance, which in turn increases your respiration rate, which increases oxygen intake. Not sure if this is accurate; but how it was explained to me. :?:
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Postby bernwern » Tue Jan 06, 2009 4:05 pm

I have no idea on any of this.....

I was told, and never read up on any of it that:

1) Altitude sickness hits about 1/11 people.
2) It lasts about a day.
3) It gets worse as you get older (including in incident rate).

Again, I have no way to verify any of this.

I do know that I go to Bozeman, MT every year and have worried about it. Base sleeping elevations have been between 5-6k feet. I have asthma. Highest riding position was the peak at Big Sky, so over 11k feet. I drink at least a 6-pack each day out there between a lunch beer, apres-ride beer, dinner beer, and other debauchery....some days it was 12+ drinks. I have been fortunate so far and no t gotten hit by this, but I suppose it is time for me to get God-smacked now >< If it hits me, I am riding blue groomers all day...screw losing a day on a real mountain!

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Postby wrathfuldeity » Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:58 am

I heard of mtn climbers taking viagra helps blood flow to oxygenate things. And L-arginine is also used as a vasodialator. but idk...not an md
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Postby daysailer1 » Tue Mar 03, 2009 1:35 pm

What symptoms are you experiencing?

There were some ladies in a class this week who didn't even realize they were experiencing altitude effects. They thought they caught some bug. Both were from Indiana (and M.D.'s that were attending a conference :lol:)

They were gassy, had diarrhea, and had headaches. These are fairly standard effects of altitude.

Being and staying hydrated is good. For these mild symptoms, bringing along a bottle of Pepto is a good start. Take a swig as soon as the plane lands in Denver.
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Postby bernwern » Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:06 am

This year I again had no effects from altitude adjustment. I was smoking cigars and cigarettes (yeah, I know, bad idea) and drinking like a fish (again, bad idea as I got dehydrated one day).

I did have to cough up a bunch of "lung butter", but I didn't get sick.

At this point, i think it strikes at random :)

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