These notes apply to our high altitude Tours in Ladakh and Tibet only. Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is an illness that can affect mountain climbers, hikers, skiers, or travellers at high altitude (typically above 10000ft or 3050m).
Causes, Incidence and Risk Factors
AMS occurs due to a combination of reduced air pressure and lower oxygen levels at higher altitudes. The faster you ascend to a high altitude, the more likely you are to experience AMS. The intensity of your symptoms will also depend on the speed of your climb and how hard you push or exert yourself.
You may be more likely to experience AMS if
Symptoms of AMS
Symptoms range from mild to life-threatening and can affect the nervous system, lungs, muscles, and heart. In most cases, the symptoms are mild.
The symptoms generally associated with mild to moderate AMS include
Symptoms generally associated with more severe AMS include
Early diagnosis is important, since AMS is easier to treat in the early stages. The responsibility is on our riders to inform us of symptoms as soon as possible, so that we can take prompt remedial action.
If you have fluid in your lungs (Pulmonary Edema), treatment may include
NOTE: The above medications are ONLY administered by a medical professional / physician
Most cases are mild and symptoms improve almost immediately when you descend to a lower altitude. In severe cases AMS can be fatal due to lung problems or brain swelling.
If a Rider has any of the following symptoms (1) severe breathing problems, (2) altered level of alertness or (3) coughing up blood, we will send them down the mountain to the nearest medical assistance as soon as possible, bearing in mind the remoteness of our location. Again, the responsibility is on our riders to inform us of symptoms as soon as possible, so that we can take prompt remedial action.
Tips to preventing acute mountain sickness include
While increasing altitude, it is advisable to
We will carry an adequate supply of Diamox if riders suffer from AMS. This is usually sufficient to counter the symptoms felt on our Tibet and Ladakh Tour routes.
If you are at risk of anaemia, ask your physician if an iron supplement would offer the required support and also, if your body would cope with high altitudes. Anaemia lowers the amount of oxygen in your blood.
You should avoid high altitudes if you have heart or lung disease.
When in doubt, please discuss high altitude trips with your physician first.