High Altitude Sickness Symptoms

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

What are the symptoms of altitude sickness?

People living at lower altitudes who enjoy a winter ski vacation may be at risk for acute altitude sickness (acute mountain sickness), the most common of the so-called altitude diseases. Doctors do not know exactly why altitude sicknesses occur, but it is believed that they result from changes in the body's responses to lowered levels of oxygen and air pressure changes.

Acute (sudden) altitude sicknesses can occur as low as 8,000 feet (2500 meters), but the risk for altitude sickness increases with increasing altitude. Acute altitude sickness occurs in up to 50% of those living in the lowlands who ascend to a level of 14,000 feet (4200 m). Onset of the condition can begin any time from eight to 96 hours after arrival at altitudes over 8,000 feet. Individuals vary in their susceptibility to acute altitude sickness and may develop symptoms at different levels of altitude.

Headache is the most common symptom of acute altitude sickness, but affected persons may also experience:

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/10/2016

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors