Altitude sickness _ cleveland clinic

Altitude sickness, also called mountain sickness, is a group of general symptoms that are brought on by climbing or walking to a higher and higher altitude (elevation) too quickly. Sharp chest pain center Why does climbing too high too quickly cause problems?

This is because the body doesn’t have enough time to adapt to the lower air pressure and lower oxygen level in the air at high altitudes. Pain on right side of chest above breast The body responds by increasing the breathing rate. Right side chest pain radiating to back In turn, this boosts the blood oxygen, but not to normal levels.


Persistent chest pain The body must adjust to operating with less oxygen than usual. Lower chest pain When a person doesn’t give the body time to adjust, he or she will develop symptoms of altitude sickness. Chest and back pain What are the symptoms of altitude sickness?

Symptoms of mild, short-term altitude sickness also include dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, sleep problems and a general loss of energy. Chest pain and shortness of breath from anxiety Symptoms usually begin within 12 to 24 hours of arriving at a high altitude. Cardiac chest pain Symptoms lessen within a day or two as the person gets used to the altitude.

Symptoms of moderate altitude sickness are more intense and are not relieved by over-the-counter medicines. Pain on left side of chest and back Fatigue, weakness and shortness of breath worsen instead of improving over time. Stomach pain pregnancy symptom The affected person may start to show loss of coordination and have difficulty walking, severe headache that is not relieved by medicines, nausea and vomiting, and tightness or congestion in the chest. Sharp chest pain Normal activity is difficult, although the person may still be able to walk on his or her own.

Symptoms of severe altitude sickness include shortness of breath at rest, inability to walk, confusion and fluid buildup in the lungs and/or brain. Chest pain left breast Other symptoms may include cough and a gray, pale or bluish skin tone. Chest pain diagnosis Severe altitude sickness is an emergency situation, and the affected person must be taken to a lower altitude immediately. Chest pain anxiety or heart attack Who is at risk for altitude sickness?

Altitude sickness can affect anyone who goes to high altitudes without giving the body time to adjust to the changes in air pressure and oxygen level. Chest pain relief High altitude is defined as 8,000 – 12,000 feet above sea level. Chest pain during pregnancy second trimester Very high altitude is 12,000 – 18,000 feet, and altitudes above 18,000 feet are considered extremely high altitude. Chest pain back pain For comparison, New York City has an altitude of 33 feet, Indianapolis, Ind. Chest pain left side above breast has an altitude of 797 feet, Denver, Colo. Chest pain stress (the “Mile-High City” ) is at 5,000 feet, and the Grand Canyon is 6,600 feet above sea level.

The more rapidly a climb to high altitude, the more likely that altitude sickness will develop. Common chest pain Altitude sickness also is more likely to develop when climbs are more difficult and take more energy, compared with a slow and easy climb.

Age, sex and general health do not seem to make a difference in risk for altitude sickness. Sternum pain to touch However, people with lung or heart disease may be told to avoid high altitudes. Back pain when breathing in deeply People who live at lower elevations and are not used to higher altitudes and people who have had altitude sickness previously seem to have a higher risk for altitude sickness.

Skiers, hikers and anyone planning a trip to location at a significantly higher than what they are used to should be know the signs and symptoms of altitude sickness and how to prevent and treat it.

When headache plus one other symptom occur within 24 to 48 hours of changing elevation, altitude sickness should be considered. Chest tightness and pain Most experienced climbers recognize the symptoms in people who are experiencing mild to moderate altitude sickness.

In cases of severe altitude sickness, a doctor will make the diagnosis based on signs, symptoms and the situation (the person was at a high altitude). Sharp chest pain when breathing The doctor may listen to the chest with a stethoscope or take a chest X-ray to determine whether there is any fluid in the chest. Chest pain gas or heart attack In the most severe cases, a doctor may order a brain MRI or CT scan to check for fluid in the brain. Natural remedies for chest pain How is altitude sickness treated?

For all stages of altitude sickness, the main treatment is to go down to a lower altitude as quickly and safely as possible. Tight chest pain For mild altitude sickness, over-the-counter medicines should relieve headache. Stabbing pain in chest and back Other symptoms will go away quickly at a lower altitude.

Symptoms of moderate altitude sickness usually improve in 24 hours at an elevation that is at least 1,000 to 2,000 feet lower. Mild chest pain Symptoms should go away completely within 3 days.

People who have severe altitude sickness must be taken to a lower elevation (no higher than 4,000 feet) immediately. Chest pain when breathing They must be seen by a doctor as soon as possible. Stabbing pain in left side of chest Hospital care may be needed.

Some highly skilled climbers and hikers may carry a portable oxygen chamber, also called a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, with them as part of their standard high-altitude gear. Gastritis chest pain The “chamber” is a body bag that is pumped full of air. Chest pain pregnancy symptom Inflating the bag increases the oxygen concentration allowing the person in the bag with altitude sickness to breathe in more oxygen.

Medicines. Chest pain icd 10 Acetazolamide is a prescription drug that increases a person’s breathing rate so that more oxygen is taken in. Shortness of breath chest pain It helps the body adjust to higher altitudes more quickly and reduces minor symptoms of altitude sickness. Pain in chest and back Dexamethasone is also a prescription drug that is sometimes used to prevent altitude sickness. Dull pain in chest left side What are the after-effects of altitude sickness?

Most people who get altitude sickness only get the mild form. Pain and tightness in chest Symptoms lessen when the person returns to a lower altitude. Pain on right side of chest when breathing There are no lasting adverse effects. Chest pain breathing Even moderate altitude sickness resolves fairly quickly when the affected person descends to a lower elevation. Middle chest pain After 2 or 3 days, the person can safely climb to higher elevations if desired.

Individuals who develop severe altitude sickness with swelling and fluid in the lungs or brain can be at risk of serious complications, including coma or death. Pain chest and back Prompt treatment reduces the risk. Pain in the center of my chest How can altitude sickness be prevented?

The best way to prevent altitude sickness is by acclimatization. Constant chest pain This is a process that allows your body time to adapt to the change in oxygen concentration at a higher altitude. Common causes of chest pain In general, this means climbing to a higher level at a slow pace.

• If possible, start below 10,000 feet and walk to high altitude instead of driving or flying. Chest pain left side If you must fly or drive to an altitude over 10,000 feet, stay at your first stop for 24 hours before going higher.

• When hiking or climbing above 10,000 feet increase your altitude by no more than 1,000 feet a day and build a rest day into your schedule for every 3,000 feet gained. Stabbing chest pain Remember, “Climb high and sleep low,” meaning if you climb more than 1,000 feet in a day, come down to sleep at a lower altitude.

Climbing experts recommend taking along enough tanks of oxygen to last for several days when traveling above 10,000 feet. What can cause chest pain besides heart Individuals at risk for developing low levels of oxygen in the blood (anemia) should ask their doctor about taking an iron supplement to help maintain blood oxygen levels. Deep chest pain References:

• Jean D, Moore LG. Home remedies for chest pain Travel to High Altitude during Pregnancy: Frequently Asked Questions and Recommendations for Clinicians. Neck and shoulder pain on left side High Alt Med Biol.2012 Jun;13(2):73-81.

This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Chest pain when breathing in Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. Chest pain syndrome This document was last reviewed on: 1/15/2013…#15111