Is altitude sickness life threatening?

PhillyB

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I am curious as to the potential long terms risks associated with altitude sickness?

Say a fella (or gal) was experiencing altitude sickness on a backcountry bowhunt and started feeling the effects of altitude sickness, is it something that can be powered through or would you run the risk of becoming very ill, possibly life threatening?
 

Travis Bertrand

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Yes it is, move to lower elevation . It can cause pulmonary edema(hape), cerebral edema (hace).
 

Travis Bertrand

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Sleep low, hunt high.

Yes it's short term but but I wouldn't go back up in elevation anytime soon.

You can acclimate but it takes a while. 1-3 days for every 2k ? Once you get above 7-8000 if you are from sea level. That's just a guess as I am not from sea level.

Hace and hape are life threatening. It's not worth it. If you start getting it, got to lower elevation ASAP.
 

dotman

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I live at 900ft and have never had an issue, BUT if you feel the symptoms I suggest heading back down and not powering through it unless you want to be hauled off the mountain. You may not die from it but you will ruin your or your buddies hunt for a few days when they haul you off the mountain.
 

Jeff Martin

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Although, it can be fatal, do not let this scare you - so can riding a bike. Just be smart. Most experts recommend spending a day or 2 getting acclamated before you stay that high. I live at sea level, been hunting high-real high my entire life and only had an issue once. Turns out dehydration brought on that problem. I was filtering cow piss, and didnt want to drink much. You can talk to as many experts as you want, they will all tell you if you are dehydrated, you WILL bring on AMS. I learned my lesson, stay hydrated, take it easy for a day or 2, you will be fine. Deaths from AMS are not typical below 15K feet. If you do feel bad, get lower, don't panic, just get lower and let your body bounce back. If this gets in your head, you will never enjoy the high country....just be smart.
 
OP
PhillyB

PhillyB

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Personally, I have never had a problem with it. I have been lucky coming from a low elevation.

However, I had a buddy abandone me last year. I would have to say dehydration played a huge part in it. The combination of heat, exhaustion, dehydration, and solitude was to much and he left me on the hill with no food or water filter
 

rye_a

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Personally, I have never had a problem with it. I have been lucky coming from a low elevation.

However, I had a buddy abandone me last year. I would have to say dehydration played a huge part in it. The combination of heat, exhaustion, dehydration, and solitude was to much and he left me on the hill with no food or water filter
With a friend like that...
 
R

rebecca francis

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I have been with several people who have suffered with altitude sickness. We always take them lower. But they always seem to acclimatize within a day or so. It should definitely be taken seriously, but I agree with Jeff Martin, don't let the fear of it keep you from experiencing the high country, just pay attention to your body and go lower if you start experiencing symptoms.
 

a3dhunter

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As people have said, it is life threatening and you do need to descend if feeling symtoms.

I have suffered from it 3 times, and each time descent is what has helped.

The contributing factors I have noticed FOR ME,
elevation over 10,500 feet, hiking uphill in excess of 1,000 feet, and limited time for acclimatization.
I have usually driven from 3500 feet elevation the night before, slept at 9,000-9,500 feet, then started hiking at daylight.
Symptoms have been mild to extreme, shortness of breath when at rest, extreme headache to the point of throwing up, lack of appetite, and fatigue have been most common.
My experience is if I descend back to 9k feet or less, by the next day I am over it and ready to go, but that 24 hours can be pure hell.
Woke up this morning at 11,500 feet with mild symptoms after climbing for 4.5 hours yesterday, by the time I descended to 9k feet I started feeling better, by the time I hit 7k feet I was good to go.
Once you've had it, you tend to pay better attention to what your body is trying to tell you at altitude, and you realize what you can work through, and what demands that you descend immediately.
Funny thing, 3 weeks ago I was above 11,000 feet mountain biking and never had any problems.
 
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