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Mountain Sickness (cont.)

Altitude Sickness Symptoms

Acute altitude sickness may be associated with any combination of the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Shortness of breath during exertion
  • Nausea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Swelling of extremities
  • Social withdrawal

People with acute altitude sickness often attribute their symptoms to other causes such as an uncomfortable bed, bad food, or a hangover. However, it is important to recognize that these symptoms may indicate a high altitude illness.

High altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE), an advanced form of acute altitude sickness, causes the following progression of symptoms:

Onset of HAPE can be gradual or sudden. HAPE typically occurs after more than one day spent at high altitude.

High altitude cerebral edema (HACE) can begin with confusion.

  • A person developing HACE begins having trouble keeping up with the group.
  • Next, walking and coordination become impaired.
  • As the brain continues to swell, lethargy and then coma will develop.
  • If left untreated, HACE will ultimately result in death.
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