Mountain disease - causes , pathogenesis , prevention


1. Reasons altitude sickness

2. pathogenesis of altitude sickness

3. Diagnosis and treatment of diseases

4. prevention of altitude sickness

Mountain sickness is a common disease in travelers and climbers.Its cause is lack of oxygen at high altitudes.

disease is characterized by various forms of flow: acute, subacute and chronic.Moreover, the pathogenesis of the disease may have a mountain complications such as cerebral edema and pulmonary edema.

Manifestations of this disease is considered to be:

  • shortness of breath;
  • quickening heart rate;
  • easy fatigue;
  • headache;
  • sleep disorders;
  • nausea or vomiting (20% of cases).

These symptoms are aggravated by heavy physical exertion.Typically, after a few days the person is recovering.

Basically this disease affects young people, and they have it rarely causes serious complications.But the elderly disease occurs with more severe disabilities.

Reasons altitude sickness

cause of altitude sickness is a sharp uplift (1-2

days) at high altitude (2500 m above sea level).This is because with the increase in height is a decrease in atmospheric pressure and oxygen content in the air.A result of the concentration of oxygen in the body fall different reactions occur which disturb the distribution of water between the blood and tissues.These changes are the main cause of altitude sickness.

pathogenesis of altitude sickness

pathogenesis of altitude sickness first manifested cyanosis (bluish skin, lips and nails), and after a few weeks the human body begins to produce a large number of red blood cells to transport oxygen to the tissues.

In addition to these symptoms, may occur and complications, including:

  • swelling of the hands, feet and face;
  • retinal hemorrhage;
  • pulmonary edema;
  • cerebral edema.

Tall swelling face, hands and feet often occur in travelers, skiers and climbers.Basically the reason the form is mountain sickness salts redistribution in the body at high altitudes.

Tall retinal hemorrhage sometimes occurs after climbing even on a small height.This condition is rarely accompanied by other symptoms and disappears by itself fairly quickly.Rarely can appear blurred vision in one or both eyes that quickly comes back to normal after the descent down.

Pulmonary edema (fluid accumulates in the lungs) is a more dangerous condition that may develop as a result of acute altitude sickness.The probability of its occurrence is higher in men than in women.Furthermore, the presence of infection (e.g., SARS), the probability of complications increases several times.This condition usually develops within 1-4 days after recovery.

pathogenesis of altitude sickness is often associated with pulmonary edema, which is characterized by severe dyspnea, slight fever and cough.Importantly, the first fairly dry cough and annoying, but then it becomes wet with frothy sputum, sometimes bloody.This complication and progresses rapidly over several hours can lead to life-threatening condition.

brain edema at high altitude illness is the most dangerous form of complications and develops 1-4 days after lifting to a great height.Very often it is preceded by acute mountain sickness or pulmonary edema.Cerebral edema is caused in this case, the liquid accumulation in brain tissue.Prone to altitude sickness people should pay attention to such precursors complications such as severe headaches and difficulty in walking, are accompanied by loss of coordination of fine motor skills of hands.

In addition, the pathogenesis of altitude sickness and high-altitude cerebral edema sometimes assumes even hallucinations, impaired perception and thought.These symptoms resemble a state of intoxication.

Cerebral edema is extremely dangerous and can result in death, so when this complication must be affected as quickly as possible to bring down.

Another form of the disease is subacute mountain sickness.This unusual condition is sometimes seen in children under one year who were born at a moderate altitude, as well as the people who stay a long time at altitudes of more than 6000 meters above sea level.This condition is caused by heart failure, which triggers the accumulation of large amounts of fluid in the legs, abdomen and lungs.In order to save a person's life, you should take him down, then the symptoms will disappear.

Chronic mountain sickness - another type of disease that develops gradually over several months in people living permanently at high altitudes.The manifestations of the disease include drowsiness, shortness of breath, pain in different parts of the body.The disease is dangerous in that the vessels of the lungs and blood clots occur legs, and as a result, heart failure may develop.The disease is caused by the fact that the human body compensates for the lack of oxygen and produces a lot of red blood cells.Because of this man's condition is deteriorating, and it urgently needs to deliver down.

Diagnosis and treatment of diseases Diagnostics

altitude sickness is carried out solely on the basis of clinical manifestations.These first symptoms are headache, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, shortness of breath, weakness, sleep disturbances and dizziness may signal the beginning of the disease.These symptoms occur within 6-12 hours after the rise and disappear in 2-3 days, if not rise above, since there is an adaptation of the organism.

When the symptoms a person should drink plenty of fluids to compensate for its loss.Besides, in mild disease ibuprofen may be taken, and for more serious during effective drugs such as Acetazolamide, and dexamethasone, and a combination thereof.Regarding

altitude cerebral edema, it is also being treated with corticosteroids (e.g., dexamethasone), but in severe cases, the patient should pull down.In any form of the disease occurs after the shutter improving the condition of the victim.

prevention of altitude sickness

best prevention of altitude sickness is considered to be a slow climb upward, in which spent at least two days for the ascent to an altitude of 2500 meters, and then another one day - for each additional 250-500 m Overnight.midway it is also a good prevention of altitude sickness.

People who are physically fit tend to feel normal, even at high altitude.But, nevertheless, even they are advised to avoid heavy physical exertion for a couple of days after recovery.

With a view to the prevention of altitude sickness at the beginning of recovery and within a few days after arrival at altitude should take small doses of corticosteroids (Acetazolamide, Dexamethasone) - this will minimize the risk of developing the disease.

People who have suffered an attack of high-altitude pulmonary edema, may appoint Nifedipine.And in order to reduce headaches caused by high altitude, physicians recommend ibuprofen.

prevention of altitude sickness involves drinking plenty of water or other liquids, as well as the restriction of salt and salty foods.In addition, it is desirable to eliminate the use of alcohol at high altitudes and avoid foods rich in carbohydrates.


This article is available exclusively in the educational purposes and is not research material or professional medical advice.

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