Friday, April 18, 2014

Acute mountain sickness

Table of Contents

Definition

Acute mountain sickness is an illness that can affect mountain climbers, hikers, skiers, or travelers at high altitude (typically above 8,000 feet or 2,400 meters).


Alternative Names

High altitude cerebral edema; Altitude anoxia; Altitude sickness; Mountain sickness; High altitude pulmonary edema


Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Acute mountain sickness is due to a combination of reduced air pressure and lower oxygen levels at high altitudes.

The faster you climb to a high altitude, the more likely you will get acute mountain sickness. Your symptoms will also depend on the speed of your climb and how hard you push (exert) yourself.

You are at higher risk for acute mountain sickness if:

  • You live at or near sea level
  • You had the illness before


Review Date: 01/05/2011
Reviewed By: Jacob L. Heller, MD, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, Clinic. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org)