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High Altitude Characteristics

It is a well-known fact that certainpeople get sick when they spend time in places on a higher altitude.These conditions may cause numerous things regarding our health.Namely, insomnia, decrease in appetite and swelling of limbs are justsome of them. More serious cases of high altitude exposure involvehaving a stroke or developing a cerebral edema. Nevertheless, eachperson may react differently while exposed to such conditions,depending on our individual capability of adapting to a differentatmosphere. Thus, it is good to know what may be expected once youare to get exposed to high altitudes, in order to be prepared andtake adequate measures if needed.

How and Why Do We Experience AltitudeSickness?

People often claim that places locatedhigh above the sea level have less air and are therefore lessadequate for living and functioning properly. However, this is agreat misconception. It is true that the higher a person goes, thecolder it will be. This is why seasides often have warm and tropicclimates while the tips of the mountains are almost always coveredwith snow. Nevertheless, this does not affect air or oxygen. Ratherit affects our ability to breathe. Due to low atmospheric pressureshigh altitudes possess, our body has troubles inhaling oxygen. Thisis the cause of most of the problems related to this issue.

What Can Happen Up There?

Except the low pressure, coldtemperature and breathing difficulties, there are several otherthings one should be prepared for. The dry air may irritate our lungsand respiratory organs easily. For this reason we usually feelbreathlessness while spending time in high altitudes, especially, after performing more demanding types of physical activities. Ourinability to breathe in enough oxygen triggers a domino effect,possibly causing many different illnesses. Our lungs and heart maysuffer because of this. A person's hemoglobin levels may be increasedas well as one's likelihood of developing clots obstructing bloodflow through the blood vessels.

More Serious Conditions Related to HighAltitudes

Acute mountain sickness may strikeanyone who reaches above 8000 feet above the sea level. Thiscondition is likely to evolve into several other, more serious ones.Additionally, if a person spends more time in such conditions, his orher blood cell count increases, potentially causing problems.

The worst case scenarios involve fluidentering one's brain or lungs, eventually causing death. These areboth very severe and dangerous complications, affecting all those whospend longer periods of time above 8000 feet of altitude.

Finally, even though people are able toacclimatize in the areas lower than mentioned above, overexposure tohigher altitudes may only cause damage and give rise to healthissues.

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