What Is Altitude Sickness and What Causes It?

Also known as “Mountain Sickness”, altitude sickness is defined as a condition “caused by ascent to a high altitude and the resulting shortage of oxygen, characterized chiefly by hyperventilation, nausea, exhaustion, and cerebral edema”.

Every year, millions of people travel to the Rocky Mountain region and the resort towns of Colorado to experience the winter ski season. However, many people will also experience shortness of breath, tiredness and even altitude sickness because their body isn’t used to the change in altitude. If their body isn’t acclimated, their first few days at high-altitude can be miserable.

Supplemental oxygen like Boost Oxygen can help fight the mild symptoms of altitude sickness, but we want to explain how to recognize the symptoms and what you can do to treat and prevent it.

  • Why does altitude sickness happen? When you go to higher altitudes, there is less oxygen for your body, lungs and blood cells to create energy. The faster you climb to higher altitudes, the more likely you will experience altitude sickness.
  • There are several symptoms of altitude sickness, which can range from mild to more severe symptoms which could require medical treatment.
  • The ways to treat mild symptoms of altitude sickness include moving to lower altitude levels, rest and pain relievers. Using supplemental oxygen can also help mild symptoms.
  • The best ways to prevent altitude sickness are to acclimate your body with altitude changes by ascending slowly, stay hydrated and use supplemental oxygen while you ascend.