Altitude Medicine – The Science Behind This Increasingly Popular Area of Sport

By | October 11, 2017

When you start talking about exercise and/or sports you may think of things like football players, weightlifting wrist wraps, top knee wraps for squats and other things related to sports and fitness. But maybe you should start paying attention to Altitude Medicine? Altitude medicine is critical for anybody who climbs a mountain quickly, thus developing altitude illness or sickness. The medicine is crucial for preventing, recognizing and treating altitude illness. Whether you are a beginner or a veteran mountain climber, or a person traveling to one of the many high mountainous regions around the world, you need this information. Your health – and probably life – when climbing any tall mountain depends on the quality and quantity of information you know about the type of medicine to take when on such types of expeditions.

First, it is worth learning the signs and symptoms of altitude sickness, which include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shortness of breath
  • Upset stomach
  • Feeling unstable or unsteady

Therefore, with such intense signs and symptoms, there is no doubt that you need to get the best altitude medicine to prepare you adequately to climb mountains or travel in highly mountainous places in different parts of the world. Understanding how each medicine works is a crucial piece of information that will help you stay alive before, during or after your mountain climbing expedition. Proper acclimatization and slow ascension are two of the most effective strategies to apply if you do not wish to take any medicine. Drugs help you in case complications arise.  

The most effective altitude medicines worth using to stay healthy include the following:

  1. a)    Acetazolamide

This medicine is great in helping you to breathe faster, thereby avoiding one of the most common signs of altitude sickness – shortness of breath. It remains the most tried, tested and proven medication for treating altitude illness. It is effective at preventing and treating the sickness. It works by acidifying the blood, which is a major attribute of acclimatization. If you take this medicine as prescribed, you should be able to climb the highest peak of any mountain without complaining of or feeling the signs and symptoms associated with altitude sickness.

  1. b)    Dexamethasone

This is a form of steroid. It works by decreasing the brain as well as other swellings your body has developed; thereby reversing the emerging effects of altitude sickness. For the best results, you should take 4mg of this medicine twice each day for some days before you begin climbing the mountain or going up a mountainous region. It is a highly powerful drug; hence, the importance of taking it cautiously. Furthermore, you should only use or take this drug with the recommendation of your doctor and after some extensive examination.

Nonetheless, these two are not the only altitude medicine you should take. Others that are equally effective – yet worth taking only after consulting your doctor – include Ibuprofen, Nifedipine, and Frusemide. In some cases, you may have to carry a breathing mask or a tool that supplies you with plenty of oxygen. Despite taking these drugs, do not forget to climb the mountain gradually. Give your body ample time to acclimatize. If you follow this guide, nothing should make your mountain climbing expedition a sad or regrettable experience.


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