What To Know About Elevation and Dehydration


Have plans to get elevated this vacation season? No, I’m not speaking about leisure partaking, however somewhat spending time in leisure areas at excessive altitudes. In case you’re headed to mountains, parks, or different locales at considerably excessive elevations—usually 8,000 ft or extra above sea stage—there are some things you need to know earlier than you go to defend your well being.

Forward, see what hostile signs can come up at excessive altitudes; and extra importantly, how one can cease them from placing a damper in your journey plans.

4 issues to know earlier than you journey to excessive elevations

1. Altitude illness is pretty widespread

“Touring to mountains with vital altitudes could make individuals prone to altitude illness [due to] decrease air stress and air oxygen ranges,” says Daniel Hermann, MD, an interventional heart specialist at Memorial Hermann in Houston, Texas. When you reside someplace comparatively near sea stage, your chance of experiencing acute mountain illness (AMS) will largely rely upon the altitude of your journey spot. AMS impacts roughly 25 p.c of individuals sleeping above 8,000 ft, and lots of as 40 to 50 p.c of these sleeping above 10,000. (Nevertheless, some individuals wrestle with AMS at elevations beginning at 6,500 ft above sea stage.)

2. Going too excessive too quick can set off signs

If attainable, attempt to slowly and steadily improve your altitude as you intend your adventures. “Our our bodies can acclimate over a interval of days or perhaps weeks to those elevations by adjusting our biochemistry. But when we shortly transfer to these elevations, you possibly can develop medical issues, mostly altitude illness,” Dr. Hermann shares. By step by step getting used to excessive elevations—maybe by settling at a base camp for a number of days earlier than venturing as much as larger factors and peaks—you possibly can cut back your probabilities of feeling sick or out of kinds.

In line with Dr. Hermann, the most typical signs of altitude illness embody nausea, vomiting, and headache, that are “typically delicate and often resolve inside a few days.” Nevertheless, for those who expertise extra extreme signs—together with chest tightness, intense issue respiration, and stability or coordination points, he advises in search of instant medical consideration.

3. Your intestine well being can take successful

It’s widespread to expertise digestive irregularities like bloating, constipation, and diarrhea whereas touring. On prime of that, touring to excessive altitudes can even set off intestinal barrier dysfunction. Per a 2022 overview within the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, acute publicity to excessive altitudes could result in elevated intestinal permeability and irritation within the intestine and elsewhere within the physique. So as to add insult to damage, acetazolamide—a medicine usually prescribed to stop and deal with altitude illness—may cause GI misery.

Nevertheless, it’s not all doom and gloom. The authors record sure dietary dietary supplements that may assist hold your intestinal barrier and higher intestine well being in preventing form. Higher but, you may already take a few of them each day. These embody:

  • Glutamine, which strengthens tight junctions and suppresses proinflammatory pathways
  • Bovine colostrum, which may stave off stress-induced intestinal damage
  • Curcumin (the energetic ingredient in turmeric), which can fortify the intestinal barrier by decreasing oxidative stress
  • Probiotics, sure varieties of which (together with Bifidobacterium species) can improve intestinal epithelial barrier operate

4. You’re extra prone to dehydration

Decrease air stress, much less oxygen, and extra labored respiration at excessive elevations can all contribute to dehydration and water loss. “Dehydration is a well-described set off for altitude illness,” Dr. Hermann provides, “so staying properly hydrated is a good way to keep away from or mitigate this bother.”

Among the greatest methods to remain hydrated whereas touring—particularly for those who’re participating in bodily actions reminiscent of hikes and water sports activities, and even merely lounging at excessive altitudes—embody:

  • Boosting your water consumption earlier than and through your journey
  • Snacking on water-rich fruits and veggies (together with watermelon, cucumbers, lettuce, and berries)
  • Including electrolyte packets to your water

Whereas it’s useful so as to add these into your souped up journey hydration routine, it’s simply as essential to know what you need to restrict or keep away from. “Alcohol and caffeine are identified to advertise dehydration,” Dr. Hermann reminds us. “For that reason, [they] needs to be used sparingly whereas at excessive altitudes.” When you can’t stop both (it’s trip, in spite of everything), at the very least goal to extend water consumption greater than standard and/or sip on H2O in between servings of espresso and cocktails.

Properly+Good articles reference scientific, dependable, latest, sturdy research to again up the knowledge we share. You may belief us alongside your wellness journey.

  1. Zachary J. McKenna, Felipe Gorini Pereira, Trevor L. Gillum, Fabiano T. Amorim, Michael R. Deyhle, and Christine M. Mermier. “Excessive-altitude exposures and intestinal barrier dysfunction.” American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 2022 322:3, R192-R203
  2. Hsieh, Chen-Yu et al. “Strengthening of the intestinal epithelial tight junction by Bifidobacterium bifidum.” Physiological studies vol. 3,3 (2015): e12327. doi:10.14814/phy2.12327


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