Herbal & homeopathic remedies useful in Altitude sickness (acute mountain sickness (AMS), high altitude sickness or soroche)

Altitude Sickness
HEALTH HERBS & NUTRITION - REMEDIES - BRAIN AND NERVOUS SYSTEM - ALTITUDE SICKNESS

· General Description

· Symptoms

· Causes

· Herbal & Homeopathic Remedies

· Dos and Don'ts

Natural herbal & homeopathic products for acute mountain sickness (AMS), high altitude sickness or soroche

General description and overview of acute mountain sickness (AMS), high altitude sickness or soroche

natural remedies for Altitude sickness (acute mountain sickness (AMS), high altitude sickness or soroche). Altitude sickness usually occurs following a rapid ascent and can usually be prevented by ascending slowly. In most of these cases, the symptoms are temporary and usually abate as altitude acclimatisation occurs. However, in extreme cases, altitude sickness can be fatal.

Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), high altitude sickness or soroche, is a pathological condition that is caused by acute exposure to low air pressure (usually outdoors at high altitudes). It commonly occurs above 2,400 metres (approximately 8,000 feet). Acute mountain sickness can progress to high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) or high altitude cerebral edema (HACE).

Altitude sickness is caused by reduced partial pressure of oxygen. This means that although the percentage of oxygen in air remains essentially constant with altitude at 21 percent, the air pressure (and therefore the number of oxygen molecules) drops with altitude. Altitude sickness usually does not affect persons traveling in aircraft because modern aircraft passenger compartments are pressurized.

A related condition, occurring only after prolonged exposure to high altitude, is chronic mountain sickness, also known as Monge's disease.

An unrelated condition, although often confused with altitude sickness, is dehydration, due to the higher rate of water vapor lost from the lungs at higher altitudes.

Introduction

High altitude or mountain sickness is defined when someone feels sick at high altitudes, such as in the mountains or any other altitude-related sicknesses. It is hard to determine who will be affected by altitude-sickness as there are no specific factors that compare with this susceptibility to altitude sickness. However, most people can climb up to 2500 meters (8000 feet) normally.

Generally, different people have different susceptibilities to altitude sickness. For some otherwise healthy people, Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) can begin to appear at around 2000 meters (6,500 feet) above sea level, such as at many mountain ski resorts, equivalent to a pressure of 80 kPa. Symptoms often manifest themselves 6-10 hours after ascent and generally subside in 1 to 2 days, but they occasionally develop into the more serious conditions. Symptoms include headache, fatigue, stomach illness, dizziness, and sleep disturbance. Exertion aggravates the symptoms.

High altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) and cerebral edema (HACE) are the most ominous of these symptoms, while AMS, retinal hemorrhage, and peripheral edema are less severe forms of the disease. The rate of ascent, altitude attained, amount of physical activity at high altitude, as well as individual susceptibility, are contributing factors to the onset and severity of high-altitude illness.

The word "soroche" came from South America and originally meant "ore", because of an old, incorrect belief that it was caused by toxic emanations of ores in the Andes mountains.

Herbal & homeopathic products recommended for acute mountain sickness (AMS), high altitude sickness or soroche

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Symptoms of acute mountain sickness (AMS), high altitude sickness or soroche

Headache is a primary symptom used to diagnose altitude sickness, although headache is also a symptom of dehydration. A headache occurring at an altitude above 2,400 meters (8000 feet = 76 kPa), combined with any one or more of the following symptoms, can indicate altitude sickness:

Lack of appetite, nausea, or vomiting

Fatigue or weakness

Dizziness or light-headedness

Insomnia

Pins and needles

Shortness of breath upon exertion

Persistent rapid pulse

Drowsiness

General malaise

Peripheral edema (swelling of hands, feet, and face).

Symptoms that may indicate life-threatening altitude sickness include:

Pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs):

Persistent dry cough

Fever

Shortness of breath even when resting

Cerebral edema (swelling of the brain):

Headache that does not respond to analgesics

Unsteady gait

Increased vomiting

Gradual loss of consciousness.

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Causes of acute mountain sickness (AMS), high altitude sickness or soroche

The most serious symptoms of altitude sickness are due to edema (fluid accumulation in the tissues of the body). At very high altitude, humans can get either high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE), or high altitude cerebral edema (HACE). The physiological cause of altitude-induced edema is not conclusively established. It is currently believed, however, that HACE is caused by local vasodilation of cerebral blood vessels in response to hypoxia, resulting in greater blood flow and, consequently, greater capillary pressures. On the other hand, HAPE may be due to general vasoconstriction in the pulmonary circulation (normally a response to regional ventilation-perfusion mismatches) which, with constant or increased cardiac output, also leads to increases in capillary pressures. HAPE occurs in ~2% of those who are adjusting to altitudes of ~3000 m (10,000 feet = 70 kPa) or more. It can progress rapidly and is often fatal. Symptoms include fatigue, severe dyspnea at rest, and cough that is initially dry but may progress to produce pink, frothy sputum. Descent to lower altitudes alleviates the symptoms of HAPE.

causes, herbal supplements & remedies for Altitude sickness (acute mountain sickness (AMS), high altitude sickness or soroche). HACE is a life threatening condition that can lead to coma or death. It occurs in about 1% of people adjusting to altitudes above ~2700 m (9,000 feet = 73 kPa). Symptoms include headache, fatigue, visual impairment, bladder dysfunction, bowel dysfunction, loss of coordination, paralysis on one side of the body, and confusion. Descent to lower altitudes may save those afflicted with HACE

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Herbal & Homeopathic remedies for acute mountain sickness (AMS), high altitude sickness or soroche

There are a number of allopathic medications that are commonly used to treat and prevent altitude sickness. These drugs do have side effects and may not agree with everyone, so it is advisable to consult your physician before use. Hospital treatment may be required where oxygen, rest and drugs will be administered, and usually full recovery is made.

Herbal and homeopathic remedies have been used traditionally for many years. They are all natural, fast-acting and non-addictive. They contain ingredients such as Zingiber officinalis, Mentha piperita, Kali. phos., Ferrum phos., Cocculus and Pulsatilla vulgaris. These remedies in combination may help to minimize shortness of breath, disorientation and speed recovery. Consult a doctor, homeopath or naturopath about a treatment that suits your needs.

Zingiber officinalis (ginger) - This has a long history of medicinal use in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine. The aromatic oils present in ginger rhizome are the active constituents medically. They are the ones responsible for the characteristic aroma and flavor. They include sesquiterpenes, specifically zingiberene, as also aldehydes and monoterpenes. Together, these constituents have an excellent effect of fighting out one of the most common cold viruses. Gingerols are another components present which give ginger its pungent characteristics and thus make ginger a fantastic remedy as an anti nausea agent. Its effects are comparable to the best conventional medicines, like metoclopramide. Ginger is a known circulatory stimulant and has strong anti-clotting effect.

Mentha piperita (Mint) - This is one of the most effective of the mint herbs, and has been used for centuries to relieve indigestion, nausea and heartburn. Mentha piperita is widely cultivated for medicinal uses and also has anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties. It relaxes the muscles of the digestive tract and stimulates the flow of natural digestive juices and bile, thereby assisting healthy digestion.

Kalium phosphate (Kali. phos.) - This is a biochemic tissue salt which is very effective in the treatment of anxiety and stress and is often referred to as a natural tranquilizer. It has many benefits, among them the relief of a 'nervous stomach'.

Cocculus C30 - This is a homeopathic remedy well known for its ability to relieve travel sickness, vertigo, nausea and vomiting.

Pulsatilla vulgaris C30 - This is used homeopathically in the treatment of nausea and vomiting and also helps to calm and soothe the sufferer of travel sickness, particularly when there is an aversion to the enclosed space and a need for fresh air.

Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm) is prepared from the leaves of the lemon balm plant, which, when rubbed between fingers, release a tart and sweet smell, like lemons. Its hairy leaves, which have round indentations and deep veins, consist of flavonoids, rosmarinic acid and tannins. Its essential oil is one of the costliest oils due to very low yield. Lemon balm is usually prescribed for intestinal problems like indigestion, stomach spasms, flatulence and belching, as also dyspepsia. This herb benefits people in sleep problems, depression and nervousness.

Lavandula augustifolia (Lavender) - The essential oil of lavenderís purple flowers appearing on the spikes is rich in a lot of constituents having medicinal properties, mainly linalool, terpinene-4-ol and linalyl acetate. Lavender is a well known herbal remedy for treating mental stress, depression, anxiety and tension headaches. It is due to the calming and sedative effects of its constituents. It is of great help in relieving from digestive problems like flatulence, easing spasms, bile stimulation and improving digestion.

Ars. alb. (30C) is made by extracting the ingredient from the crystalline mineral ore Arsenopyrite that is found in many countries of the Northern Hemisphere. In this form, Ars. alb. helps treat symptoms of restless fear and emotional drainage.

   

Herbal & homeopathic products recommended for acute mountain sickness (AMS), high altitude sickness or soroche

CanTravel for Altitude sickness (acute mountain sickness (AMS), high altitude sickness or soroche). Maintain digestive comfort during air, sea, or car travel.

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Dos and don'ts (precautions) in acute mountain sickness (AMS), high altitude sickness or soroche

Altitude acclimatization - Altitude acclimatization is the process of adjusting to decreasing oxygen levels at higher elevations, in order to avoid altitude sickness. Once above approximately 3,000 meters (10,000 feet = 70 kPa), most climbers and high altitude trekkers follow the "golden rule" - climb high, sleep low. For high altitude climbers, a typical acclimatization regime might be to stay a few days at a base camp, climb up to a higher camp (slowly), then return to base camp. A subsequent climb to the higher camp would then include an overnight stay. This process is then repeated a few times, each time extending the time spent at higher altitudes to let the body "get used" to the oxygen level there, a process that involves the production of additional red blood cells. Once the climber has acclimatized to a given altitude, the process is repeated with camps placed at progressively higher elevations.

precautions & homeopathic medicines & remedies for Altitude sickness (acute mountain sickness (AMS), high altitude sickness or soroche). Patients can sometimes control mild altitude sickness by consciously taking 10-12 large, rapid breaths every 5 minutes. If overdone, this can remove too much carbon dioxide and cause tingling in the extremities of the body

 

The general rule of thumb is to not ascend more than 300 meters (1,000 feet) per day to sleep. That is, one can climb from 3,000 (10,000 feet = 70 kPa) to 4,500 meters (15,000 feet = 58 kPa) in one day, but one should then descend back to 3,300 meters (11,000 feet = 67.5 kPa) to sleep. This process cannot safely be rushed, and this explains why climbers need to spend days (or even weeks at times) acclimatizing before attempting to climb a high peak. Simulated altitude equipment that produce hypoxic (reduced oxygen) air can be used to acclimate to altitude, reducing the total time required on the mountain itself.

Oxygen enrichment - In high-altitude conditions, oxygen enrichment can counteract the effects of altitude sickness, or hypoxia. A small amount of supplemental oxygen reduces the equivalent altitude in climate-controlled rooms. At 3,400 m (67 kPa), raising the oxygen concentration level by 5 percent via an oxygen concentrator and an existing ventilation system provides an effective altitude of 3,000 m (70 kPa), which is more tolerable for surface-dwellers. The most effective source of supplemental oxygen at high altitude are oxygen concentrators that use vacuum swing adsorption (VSA) technology. As opposed to generators that use pressure swing adsorption (PSA), VSA technology does not suffer from performance degradation at increased altitude. The lower air density actually facilitates the vacuum step process.

Increased fluid intake - Drinking plenty of water will also help in acclimatization to replace the fluids lost through heavier breathing in the thin, dry air found at altitude, although consuming excessive quantities ("over-hydration") has no benefits and may lead to hyponatremia. Oxygen from gas bottles or liquid containers can be applied directly via a nasal cannula or mask. Oxygen concentrators based upon PSA, VSA, or VPSA can be used to generate the oxygen if electricity is available. Stationary oxygen concentrators typically use PSA technology, which has performance degradations at the lower barometric pressures at high altitudes. One way to compensate for the performance degradation is to utilize a concentrator with more flow capacity. There are also portable oxygen concentrators that can be used on vehicle DC power or on internal batteries, and at least one system commercially available measures and compensates for the altitude effect on its performance up to 4,000 meters (13,123 feet). The application of high-purity oxygen from one of these methods increases the partial pressure of oxygen by raising the FIO2 (fraction of inspired oxygen).

For serious cases of AMS, a Gamow bag can be used to reduce the effective altitude by as much as 1,500 meters (5,000 feet). A Gamow bag is a portable plastic pressure bag inflated with a foot pump.

The folk remedy for altitude sickness in Peru and Bolivia is a tea made from the coca plant.

 

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Herbal & homeopathic products recommended for acute mountain sickness (AMS), high altitude sickness or soroche

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Maintain digestive comfort during air, sea, or car travel.

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