Colorado is known for its towering mountains and stunning scenery. People visit Colorado from all over the world to enjoy the fresh air and natural beauty, however, many are unaware of how the high altitude can affect them when they come from lower elevations or travel from out of state. This blog post will explore what to do if you start feeling altitude sickness symptoms, why it happens, and how to avoid getting altitude sickness altogether.
Why does altitude sickness occur?
Altitude sickness occurs when you are at a higher elevation than what your body is used to. The effects vary for everyone, however the risk greatly increases at elevations above 8000 feet. At lower elevation the air pressure is higher and you have more oxygen, but when you come to high elevation there is less oxygen and it takes your body a while to acclimate.
How do I know if I have altitude sickness? If you experience any one or several of these symptoms, you may have altitude sickness:
- Headaches for no apparent reason or headache and nausea at the same time.
- Difficulty breathing while doing your normal activities such as exercising. This includes if it feels like there is a weight on your chest when climbing stairs or small hills. It could also include shortness of breath that doesn't go away with rest after activity has stopped or when trying to fall asleep at night. You can feel less energetic overall which makes exercise difficult without feeling out of breath constantly even though you're barely exerting any effort.
- Muscle cramping and fatigue happening more often than usual throughout the day/evenings (especially after resting).
- You can feel dizzy or lightheaded for no reason at all in addition to the symptoms listed above.
How do I avoid altitude sickness?
- Come with a plan of gradually increasing your time spent at higher elevations. Spend less than half the day in high elevation and then switch to lower altitudes if possible before going back up for more hours.
- Drink plenty of water (at least 100 oz per day) as well as eat healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats to prevent altitude sickness from happening or coming on slowly over time; this includes low sodium diets which can help avoid getting altitude sickness symptoms quicker by keeping salt intake minimal.
When traveling to locations of high altitude it is important to remember the signs of altitude sickness and to be prepared. Hopefully this article has provided you with valuable information to keep you safe and make sure your adventures go on without a hitch.