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Road trip to Colorado really nervous about altitude sickness!!

Road trip to Colorado really nervous about altitude sickness!!

Old Jan 15th, 2016, 03:55 PM
  #1  
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Road trip to Colorado really nervous about altitude sickness!!

I am an overweight and very out of shape 22 year old female. I have mild- moderate anemia and occasional migraines (which I haven't had in a while) I live in Illinois and have never been to an altitude higher than probably 800 ft. My friend and I are taking a roadtrip soon from Illinois to Denver. I admit I am a bit of a hypochondriac and am becoming very nervous about altitude sickness especially given the state my body is in at the moment. I don't want to cancel my trip but I am becoming increasingly nervous as the date approaches. I've always wanted to go to Denver so I'm hoping for some help!!
caileyb1 is offline  
Old Jan 15th, 2016, 04:01 PM
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Going on a road trip should make it a bit easier on you as you will be going up more slowly. I will say that for me, drinking lots and lots of water helps a lot. I also take old fashioned aspirin if I even start to get a headache.
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Old Jan 15th, 2016, 04:20 PM
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There is medication that can be taken - Diamox. I suggest you discuss your concerns with your physicians.

Learn the signs of altitude sickness so you are knowledgeable and will be able to recognize it.

As stated, drink LOTS of water. Your urine should be the color of wheat; if it isn't you need to drink more. Don't drink alcohol as it makes it worse.
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Old Jan 15th, 2016, 04:40 PM
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Denver isn't very high in altitude. I always lived at sea level and would only have a problem with altitude over 8,000'. But, that's just me. Drink water the whole time and that should help.

Not sure when your trip is planned but you might start walking every day before the trip to get into better shape. That should also help with altitude.
AustinTraveler is online now  
Old Jan 15th, 2016, 04:44 PM
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I agree that If you are just going to Denver (and not higher in the mountains) you'll probably be OK. You will get to altitude gradually since you are driving and the city is just a little over 5000 feet so not that high.

Do talk to your doctor first though. Drink lots of water and take it easy and you will likely be fine.
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Old Jan 15th, 2016, 06:01 PM
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Some people have symptoms at a lower altitude. Things that are really high risks are asthma, other breathing problems and ever having smoked. But when and if you have symptoms really varies a lot person by person

You should talk to your MD if you are that concerned.

But do be aware that any physical exertion will be much more difficult when you are at a significantly higher altitude - even just normal walking on a flat street.

I had no problems in Denver or in Swiss mountains up to about 7K feet - but at 11K I definitely had some lightheadedness until we sat down for a while and had water and a snack. An older couple who came up on the train with us felt so awful they went right back down on the same train.
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Old Jan 16th, 2016, 04:02 AM
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With altitude sickness, you just never know--even in Denver. But I hope you will go on into the mountains also--it would be a shame to miss a little of that scenery.
As stated and it can't be overstated, DRINK WATER constantly. You won't feel thirsty--drink anyway.

If you don't feel well, drink water and take some aspirin. I have migraines but not in Denver visits. You know the symptoms of migraine so don't take your med for that if you have a regular headache.
Why aren't you being treated for the anemia?
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Old Jan 16th, 2016, 04:02 AM
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With altitude sickness, you just never know--even in Denver. But I hope you will go on into the mountains also--it would be a shame to miss a little of that scenery.
As stated and it can't be overstated, DRINK WATER constantly. You won't feel thirsty--drink anyway.

If you don't feel well, drink water and take some aspirin. I have migraines but not in Denver visits. You know the symptoms of migraine so don't take your med for that if you have a regular headache.
Why aren't you being treated for the anemia?
Gretchen is offline  
Old Jan 16th, 2016, 04:34 AM
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Definitely drink a lot of water as others have said. Be careful of your alcohol intake as well. I too would start walking now to get in better shape. I would take every precaution but would not miss this opportunity to see this beautiful state!
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Old Jan 16th, 2016, 05:11 AM
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As skiers, we've spent lots of time in the mountains. Right now, we're on our way to Colorado.
I agree with the recommendations to drink lots of water and start walking.
We take an aspirin every morning and evening to thin the blood and improve oxygenation.
Altitude is dehydrating; since alcohol and caffeine are also dehydrating, we avoid them for the first 2 days.
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Old Jan 16th, 2016, 07:26 AM
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You've been given good advice already, mainly stay hydrated at all times and avoid alcohol, at least for the first few days.

I've spent a fair amount of time at high altitudes, months trekking or climbing between 12,000 - 21,000 feet, so have some experience. The fact that you are out of shape does not increase your odds of having a problem. In fact it may work to your advantage because you'll naturally be moving at a slow and steady pace, and won't over-exert yourself. Very fit people can have issues because of this. (I'd work on getting in shape for a host of other reasons, but that's another story.)

Beyond that here is what the acknowledged experts on the subject have to say regarding your other concerns:
http://www.altitudemedicine.org/alti...ng-conditions/

MIGRAINE

Persons with migraine headaches are not at increased risk of altitude illness. If a migraine develops at high altitude, however, it might be difficult to distinguish this from an altitude headache, although altitude headache does not have an aura and is not unilateral. A recent study suggests that low oxygen levels can trigger migraines. If you suffer from migraines, you should use your regular migraine medication at altitude if your headache seems like your typical migraine. If your medication is not effective, then you may need oxygen in addition to other treatments, as your headache may be due to AMS.

ANEMIA

Lower red blood cell levels, as occurs in anemia, would seem to affect acclimatization. These cells contain hemoglobin which is responsible for carrying oxygen from the lungs to the tissues. Indeed, anemia does affect exercise performance at altitude, but there is no evidence that it increases susceptibility to altitude illnesses. Women with regular menstrual cycles are more prone to lower iron levels and anemia. Red blood cell production increases around the third week at altitude and improves oxygen carrying capability of the blood. This response maybe impaired if iron stores are low. If you have a history of anemia you should:

* Make sure the source of your anemia is diagnosed by your doctor
* Have your red blood cell and hemoglobin levels checked prior to going to altitude
* Take additional iron supplements if you plan to be at high altitude for more than a few weeks


Look at this page too:
http://www.altitudemedicine.org/opti...h-at-altitude/

Note when they say "high altitude" they mean starting above 8,000-9,000 feet or so. It's very likely that you will be fine driving to Denver, and after a few days there then you'll be fine taking a drive into the mountains because you will be getting acclimated.

It's good to be aware of this issue, but don't let it ruin your trip.
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Old Jan 16th, 2016, 07:08 PM
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It has taken a while but Nelson's advice is solid. The cause of altitude sickness is poorly understood. And it is not predictable. You can be fine going to altitude five time and sick as a dog the sixth time. The big problem is getting oxygen to your systems. Those of us who live at altitude have about 20% more red cells or oxygen carrying cells than the flat landers. Since you have some problems with anemia I would definitely have a discussion with your doctor. If you are short on red cells now, that will not be a benefit in the mountains. It will taken you about a week to adjust. And you cannot rush it. You body just has to starting making more red cells - the reason for drink water.
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Old Jan 16th, 2016, 10:08 PM
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Sometimes when I travel I have problems with my attitude. But if I put on a happy face and forget my problems it disappears.
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