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Altitude Sickness

Travel Forums General Talk Altitude Sickness

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1. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 11y

Hello yet again,

I'm planning to spend some time in Nepal or Tibet and also Cuzco. Is altitude sickness is bad as everyone says and does it affect most people?

And is the person who told me that smokers suffer much less from altitude sickness pulling my leg?

E;)

2. Posted by Cupcake (Travel Guru 8468 posts) 11y

http://www.high-altitude-medicine.com/
hope this helps! ;)

3. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 11y

Cheers Joz!;)

4. Posted by areinstein (Travel Guru 2788 posts) 11y

I am a smoker and I am not exactly sure how much truth there is to that. As far as altitude sickness, no one knows. Each body adapts to altitude differently so you really are not going to know how it will affect you until you get there.

What is suggested (for when you go to Cuzco) is that you spend 2 days getting acclimated to the altitude before you begin the hike. Your body will adjust and begin producing more red cells which carry oxigen through your body.

I didnt have any problem with the altitude and just like I was told I couldnt really train for it either. Florida is pretty darn flat so I just went for it. Some people would get sick the moment they get out of the plane, vomitting, nausea etc. But if that happens to you, you will be fine in a couple of days. In Cuzco you can get coca leave tea, which helps/prevents altitude sickness (and no, it isnt cocaine). I loved drinking that. They would give us that every morning at the camp site.

Reaching the highest part of the hike, our group of 8 (4 men, 4 women) we all got pretty much separated. We had a meeting point Two guys got there first, one was a guy from the Netherlands that had been in the mountains for over a week (fully acclimated) and the other lived in Colorado, he is used to high altitude. I arrived third from the group and guess what was the first thing I did...I lit up a cigarrete. The rest of the group arrived over a two and a half hour period. Some of the other people of the group were in much better shape than I was but it is entirely on how your body adapts. I got killed on the way down, people with longer legs have an advantage there.

The best advice I can give you here is do not worry about the altitude cause there isnt a darn thing you can do about it and will not know until you get there. Worst case scenario is that it does affect you and you are set behind a couple of days while your body adapts. Relax the first day, drink coca tea in Cuzco and do some local sightseeing. ;)

5. Posted by areinstein (Travel Guru 2788 posts) 11y

One more thing...dont try to take any medicine for altitude before hand...sometimes it has the opposite desired effect. ;)

6. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4136 posts) 11y

Quoting samsara2

And is the person who told me that smokers suffer much less from altitude sickness pulling my leg?
E;)

They may not be pulling your leg. A regular smoker has a
physiologic altitude of 3,000 to 8,000 feet while at sea level. In other words, their bodes are "used to" being at that height.

7. Posted by areinstein (Travel Guru 2788 posts) 11y

Quoting james

Quoting samsara2

And is the person who told me that smokers suffer much less from altitude sickness pulling my leg?
E;)

They may not be pulling your leg. A regular smoker has a
physiologic altitude of 3,000 to 8,000 feet while at sea level. In other words, their bodes are "used to" being at that height.

You know, I've always wonder if that was true or not. Where did you hear that James...you know how accountant's mind work...I need solid black and white reliable proof that it is true. You sure it isnt a myth? Cause if that is the case, I wont quit smoking...I am hiking Kilimanjaro in 2006 and if I am already acclimated due to my smoking, heck, thats great!

8. Posted by areinstein (Travel Guru 2788 posts) 11y

Eve, the moral to this story is...dont worry about the altitude, just start smoking

9. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 11y

Anne, I think I'm gonna have to make you my South America travel guru if you dont mind. ;) Some good tips there....thanks. Dont be encouraging me to start smoking again. According to my primary teacher school teachers of yester-year I have a "very impressionable young mind and am easily led" (although maybe I've grown up since then )

10. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4136 posts) 11y

Quoting areinstein

Where did you hear that James...you know how accountant's mind work...I need solid black and white reliable proof that it is true. You sure it isnt a myth?

I read it on some web site somewhere, therefore it must be true. Is that proof enough for you?