View Full Version : Altitude Sickness Anyone?

Elaine Margarett
01-29-2012, 12:24 AM
Does anyone have experience with altitude sickness? I think that's what I experienced but I'm not sure. When I first came to the high mountain desert of Ely, NV (elavation 6,500 feet in the valley; 8,000 feet plus in the mountaines) I had a lot of difficulty breathing, was light-headed and was panting after climbing a flight of stairs. This went away after a month or so.

Right now, I'm dividing my time between MD and NV. The first time I came home to MD, I returned to NV a month later and I had no problem with the altitude. I'm getting ready to go back to NV after being home for 5 months. I'm wondering if I'll have to readjust to the altitude once again, after spending so much time at sea level. Lord, I hope not. :-(

01-29-2012, 03:32 AM
Not sure, but probably. Phoenix is at 1100 feet, our summer home is at almost 9000. It takes us several days to adjust when we go up. Coming back to the valley for 3 weeks or so doesn't seem to make it difficult when we go back up. If we are down for two or three months, we have to adjust again. We have noticed that as we have gotten older, it takes longer to adjust.


Elaine Margarett
01-29-2012, 04:30 AM
Thanks Mary.

So I guess I can expect to go through the process all over again. :-(

When I first got to NV I thought I was having anxiety attacks, not that I've ever had them before. I had no idea till I moved to Ely that I have a problem with open spaces. I knew I didn't like mountains although the few mountains we have here in MD are nothing like the ones out west. And I thought I liked open spaces, but again, open space on the east coast is a little diiferent than out west.

There's something about being the only human in a valley that stretches over a hundred miles, or standing in the shadow of a mountain that's 5 miles away that makes my heart race a little.

01-29-2012, 09:41 AM
The advice I've heard is "Hike high; sleep low." In other words, push yourself to high elevations during the day, but then come back down to a lower elevation to sleep.

It's supposed to help you adapt faster, probably because your body does maintenance while you sleep, and you're giving it more oxygen to build red blood cells with if you sleep low.

I've been light-headed at 8000 ft, but my real problem is I get nauseated at about 10,000 ft.

However, that happens when I try to drive to those elevations all on one day (because of where I live, I'm acclimatized to sea level.) If I've slept a few days at a higher elevation (say 6,000 or 7,000 ft), then I can get above 10,000 ft without feeling horrible.

Quasi-personal, barely-related story: One of my cousins worked at the telescope in Hawaii for a while, but he only got the job the second time he interviewed for it. The fellow they hired the first time was never able to adjust to the altitude. He just couldn't think.

When my cousin went back for the second interview, they had changed their style. They fed him a bunch of information, then quizzed him on it later to make sure his brain was indeed functioning in spite of the lower oxygen levels.