Mountain sickness - a painful condition that occurs when climbing in alpine areas. Mountain sickness - a kind of altitude sickness that occurs due to oxygen deficiency (hypoxia) when climbing at high altitude. This condition is familiar to climbers, geologists in the ascent to the height or climbing on a vehicle. Worse when lifting first described Acosta. In more detail the effect of altitude on the human body began to study only in the nineteenth century.
Reasons for altitude sickness
Mountain disease usually begins to manifest itself at the height of about two and a half thousand meters above sea level. It is believed that the main cause of altitude sickness - a low concentration of oxygen in the inspired air. However, the oxygen concentration remains constant at different elevations. With increasing height the atmospheric pressure changes, but because of the ratio of hydrogen to oxygen in the air starts to vary. The body at the height gets less oxygen than required for the normal functioning of the brain and the body.
Symptoms of altitude sickness and pathogenesis
Mountain sickness is rarely manifested suddenly, most often develops gradually. Its first symptoms are muscle weakness, lethargy, dizziness, drowsiness, malaise. Symptoms of the disease is increasing, if the person is still on top. It appears vomiting, nausea, fever, chills and respiratory rhythm disorder.
Mountain sickness often occurs in people with cardiovascular disease, chronic lung diseases.
In the pathogenesis of the disease was isolated mountain stage and a stage adaptation of compensation, as well as the stage of decompensation, and, in fact, of the disease.
Phase compensation is shown at an altitude of one thousand to four thousand meters above sea level. At this stage of altitude sickness occurs tachycardia, shortness of breath, increased blood pressure due to reflex stimulation of the cardiovascular and respiratory centers (with stimulation of chemoreceptors hypoxemic blood).
At a height of four to five thousand meters amplifies the excitement of the cerebral cortex cells and weakens internal inhibition. In the background there is a significant lack of oxygen release of blood from the depot to the bone marrow is activated erythropoiesis, and increasing peripheral blood erythrocyte count. It is often at this stage there is a loss of altitude sickness writing skills, there is irritability, change handwriting.
Decompensated develops at an altitude of five thousand meters and more. Hyperventilation leads to a decrease in tissue concentrations of carbon dioxide. The development of acidosis and alkalosis gas decreases excitability, especially cardiovascular and respiratory centers. The excitement and euphoria of the body are replaced by depression of the central nervous system depression. At this stage of the disease develop drowsiness, fatigue, most reflexes slowed, inhibited many of the functions of the digestive tract due to severe myocardial hypoxia significantly reduced blood pressure. Microcirculation is disturbed, breathing becomes irregular. At a height of six to eight thousand meters paralysis of the respiratory center may lead to respiratory arrest.
On changes to the external respiration and blood identified two main forms of altitude sickness - and Emphysematous eritremicheskuyu. In some cases serious complications (edema of the brain and / or lung) may develop at a lower height.
Prevention of altitude sickness
Before setting off on a height of five to eight kilometers you must first adapt to respiratory, muscular, cardiovascular and hematopoietic systems. To prevent altitude sickness is best first to rise at a relatively low altitude. At long stay at low altitude in the body changes occur so as to maintain normal activity.
Observations showed that the climbers who often climb the mountain, almost do not suffer from altitude sickness.
For each human adaptation to a lack of oxygen it requires a different time. At a young age (24 to 35 years) acclimatization occurs relatively quickly. For about a week Spent a height of two to three thousand meters, compensatory mechanisms are activated, thereby increasing the volume of pulmonary ventilation, increases the number of red blood cells and hemoglobin concentration in the blood, changes the shape of the dissociation of the oxygen capacity of the blood and increases the alkalinity of the blood, muscle hypertrophy develops heart. As a result of activation of the compensatory mechanisms of the body increases the resistance of tissues to hypoxia.
The complex of measures for acclimatization increases endurance. To prevent altitude sickness is very important to organize food and water-salt regime when you stay at a considerable height. In the period of adaptation of the body it is very important to drink plenty of fluids (about three liters per day). Fluid accelerates the removal of oxidized products of metabolism by the kidneys. To speed up the acclimatization is also recommended intake of sodium citrate, ammonium chloride, hypochlorous potassium, as well as the introduction of intravenous methylene blue, and the inhalation of carbon dioxide.
Before climbing to accelerate the adaptation it is also very useful to train regularly in the chamber by a special technique.
A very important way to prevent altitude sickness is ultraviolet radiation and inhalation of oxygen-depleted gas mixtures.