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Mountain Sickness (cont.)

Altitude Sickness Diagnosis

The diagnosis of acute altitude sickness is based on symptoms. After traveling to a high altitude, symptoms of loss of appetite, generalized weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath during exertion, nausea, or a headache associated with insomnia may indicate altitude sickness.

  • The doctor may hear crackles or rales (a rattling sound) when listening to the patient's lungs.
  • Shortness of breath at rest may indicate HAPE.
  • The pateint's vital signs may be abnormal and may include low-grade fever and faster-than-normal heart and breathing rates.
  • Pulse oximetry, which measures oxygen saturation of the blood, may reveal that the patient's oxygen saturation is lower than expected for that particular altitude.
  • The doctor may treat the patient with fever and cough for pneumonia in addition to HAPE.
  • HACE is diagnosed if a person's mental state is altered or coordination is lost at high altitude.
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