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► UNDERSTANDING ALTITUDE SICKNESS
The information below is far from exhaustive but covers the basics of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) that is good to know before your Tibet tour. It should be kept in mind that although most people feel some breathlessness at altitude only a very small number ever develop AMS.
For more thorough information on altitude please see this external link (opens in a new window)
► GENERAL INFORMATION
Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), is caused by acute exposure to low air pressure (usually outdoors at high altitudes). It can occur above 2,400m (approximately 8,000 feet).
The exact causes of altitude sickness are still not properly understood. An unrelated condition, although often confused with altitude sickness, is dehydration, due to the higher rate of water vapour lost from the lungs at higher altitudes. Make sure you drink lots of water on a trip to Tibet and keep alcohol and coffee consumption to a minimum.
It is hard to determine who will be affected by altitude-sickness as there are no specific factors that compare with this susceptibility to altitude sickness. However, most people can climb up to 2500 meters (8000 feet) normally. and the vast majority of people will only feel the mildest of symptoms during their trip.
► ALTITUDE SICKNESS SYMPTOMS
Generally, different people have different susceptibilities to altitude sickness. Symptoms include headache, fatigue, stomach illness, dizziness, and sleep disturbance. Exertion aggravates the symptoms.
The only reliable treatment and in many cases the only option available is to descend. Altitude sickness usually occurs following a rapid ascent and can usually be prevented by ascending slowly. In most of these cases, the symptoms are temporary and usually abate as altitude acclimatisation occurs.
► IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER
✔︎ Drink lots of water.