Though altitude sickness is not found everywhere, it is not uncommon. Anytime someone visits a high altitude location, they run the risk of altitude sickness. Hikers are especially prone to this condition which can be life-threatening. Surprisingly, water could be one of the methods of combating it.
What is Altitude Sickness?
As a body finds itself at higher altitudes, it will feel the effects of air pressure and a decrease of oxygen in the air. It is more than a matter of needing to take deeper breaths. For anyone unaccustomed to the conditions, it can be hazardous to one’s health.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine describes the symptoms of altitude sickness as follows:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea or vomiting
- Rapid pulse (heart rate)
- Shortness of breath with exertion
Most cases are mild in nature and can easily be treated at home. Severe cases need immediate medical attention. Treatments and prevention include oxygen and medication.
Water is one of the resources you can look to as part of your anti-altitude sickness regimen.
Importance of Water
Our bodies are largely made up of water. In fact, 90% of the body is water. No wonder a creature in the first Star Trek shows called humans “bags of mostly water.” Every cell in the body needs fluid. Water is essential for our existence and our daily health. Daily intake of water is crucial. Dehydration happens quickly of you are not drinking enough water. This prevents the cells from repairing as they are designed to do. Your body cannot function without the needed water.
As you move about in higher altitudes, you will find yourself breathing heavier and using up more of the water in your body. This is especially true when you are hiking in those regions. Water is always important for hikers. Hiking in high altitudes calls for even more water.
As a body dehydrates, it causes fatigue. You experience headaches and nausea. You can also experience trouble breathing. Notice how these symptoms are similar to altitude sickness? The loss of too much water in your body can lead to altitude sickness. Constant intake of water can help prevent you getting the condition. It is the solution, but a part of the solution package.
Water is important to everyone. Too often it is not taken in enough each day. To continue that habit when visiting high altitudes is to invite altitude sickness. Keep plenty of water with you and stay hydrated.