RESEARCH PAPER
ACUTE MOUNTAIN SICKNESS
 
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Studenckie Koło Naukowe Zdrowia Srodowiskowego i Epidemiologii przy Katedrze i Zakładzie Higieny Akademii Medycznej im. Piastów Slaskich we Wrocławiu. Kierownik: prof. nadzw. dr hab. K. Pawlas
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Jakub Krzeszowiak   

Katedra i Zakład Higieny Akademii Medycznej we Wrocławiu 50-345 Wrocław, ul. Mikulicza-Radeckiego 7 tel. 71-784-01-05, fax. 71-784-15-03
 
Med Srod. 2012;15(1):61–68
 
KEYWORDS
ABSTRACT
This paper presents the most likely pathophysiological causes of the development of acute mountain sickness (AMS, also known as altitude sickness), its pulmonary form i.e. high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE), and high altitude cerebral edema (HACE). These diseases constitute extraordinary environmental hazards because they are directly connected with low atmospheric pressure, and thus low partial oxygen pressure. The above adverse atmospheric conditions start to affect humans already at an altitude of 2,500 meters above the sea level and, coupled with extreme physical exertion, can quickly lead to respiratory alkalosis, which is not present under any other conditions in the lowlands. Mountaineering above 4,500 m a.s.l. leads to hypoxia of internal organs and, primarily, reduced renal perfusion with all its consequences. The above adverse changes, combined with inadequate acclimatization, can lead to a situation of imminent danger to life and health. This paper describes in detail the consequences of acute mountain sickness, which can ultimately lead to the development of AMS and one of severe forms of HACE and/or HAPE.
 
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