Altitude Dream

Why do I sleep so restlessly in the mountains?

Climbers often notice that they do not sleep well and feel rested when in the mountains. What is often experienced is waking up several times. This results in broken nights. Fortunately, there is nothing serious going on. The cause, again, lies with the reduced oxygen tension. It causes the phenomenon of 'periodic breathing'. This means that a person does not breathe as usual, but in this case stops breathing for a while and then compensates for this pause by breathing faster. read more

Does being in good shape help against altitude sickness?

The level of fitness a person needs depends on the physical demands of the trip: the duration of the trip as a whole, the number of hours active during the days, the amount of rest days, the amount and weight of the pack, the environment and the type of activity. It is important to have a clear picture of all this so that training can be targeted and the chances of successfully completing the climb increase. read more

How can altitude sickness be prevented?

You should limit the speed at which you ascend by taking as much time as possible for acclimatisation. From experience we know that between 2500 and about 4000 metres is a safe ascent rate for almost everyone of about 300 metres per day. The speed of ascent is the difference in sleeping height between two stages of the day. As it takes an average of 4-12 hours for altitude sickness to develop after an ascent, when passing a high pass in between, there is no additional risk of altitude sickness. Many people can climb up to 500 m sleep height difference per day without any problems. However, an average of 65% of climbers to 4000 m in altitude briefly experience symptoms associated with altitude sickness. read more

What is high cerebral edema?

Altitude cerebral oedema (HACE) is also a disease that can occur at altitude. It is more commonly seen from 3700 m, but can already occur from 2600 m. This disease also involves fluid accumulation. This is not in the lungs, but in the brain: the control centre of our body and therefore crucial for our survival. The fluid accumulation causes the brain to swell and take up more space. This increases the pressure, compromises the blood supply and the brain gets less and less nutrients and oxygen. The result is damage to the brain, which can eventually be life-threatening. read more

What is pulmonary oedema?

Altitude pulmonary oedema is another disease that can occur at altitudes as low as 2500 m. The term oedema refers to an accumulation of fluid. As the name suggests, this accumulation occurs in the lungs, more specifically in the alveoli. Gas exchange takes place in these alveoli. The oxygen from the inhaled air is absorbed into the alveoli and exchanged for the waste gas carbon dioxide. read more

Recognising altitude sickness and how to act

AMS is diagnosed according to the following three criteria: High rate of increase in the last 4 days Presence of headache and the presence of at least one other symptom (loss of appetite, nausea, dizziness or fatigue); A total score of 3 or more on the Lake-Louise questionnaire When making the diagnosis, AMS can be subdivided into mild, moderate and severe AMS, based on the Lake-Louise questionnaire. The latter two are treated in the same way and are therefore grouped together for convenience. ... read more

What is the cause of altitude sickness?

As we climb to higher altitudes, much changes in the environment. Apart from the fact that the air is less polluted and the trees make way for rocks and snow, the composition of the air also changes. One of these changes is that the oxygen partial pressure is getting lower. So there are fewer oxygen molecules in the same volume of air than at a lower altitude. The annoying thing is that the climber needs a lot of this to get up the mountain. However, the body can cleverly deal with the reduced oxygen tension by adapting in various ways to still be able to take in enough of this gas. However, these adaptations are not always sufficient or efficient enough, which can cause altitude sickness. The main cause of altitude sickness is therefore the reduced partial pressure of oxygen in the air. Nothing can be done about the changing environment. However, as mentioned earlier, the body can miraculously adapt to these changes. read more

Altitude training for runners

Altitude training is a part of almost all elite training programmes for runners. More than 95% of the medalists at the World Championships and the Olympic Games have lived or trained at altitude. This simulated altitude takes place over a period of weeks or months. Studies say it takes 21 to 28 days for the body to adapt. The benefits of exposure have little to do with training and more to do with the body's response to lack of oxygen. The first rule of altitude training is: no heavy training or hard efforts in the first three to seven days, train easily and know that the benefits are in the body. Hydration is an important factor when it comes to increasing plasma volume. Important points runners should know about altitude training Altitude training is a complex subject that has attracted attention in the modern running era. Most athletes are aware of the ... read more