What is actually going on in your body at high altitudes? The capillaries in the body dilate and leak fluid with the reduction in oxygen. Altitude sickness isn’t something you can ignore and ‘push yourself’ through. No, your precious body is not able to overcome what altitude sickness brings. Why? We need one thing on this planet more than anything else. That one thing is oxygen and there just isn’t much of that up in the mountains at 3,000 meters in elevation. That is all you need to remember, the need for oxygen is the most crucial thing on the planet.
How are your lungs? Do you have a lung condition such as asthma? Do you smoke and disregard them in other ways? How is your heart? Does heart disease run in your family? Do you live at sea level? Have you been an ‘eggs and bacon’ kind of person with a love for butter and cheese? Really take inventory on your own, personal, human body. Seriously, even 20 year old trekkers have come into trouble over altitude sickness. And, yes, people do die from it. It can also make you more susceptible to accidents, and no one is immune.
If you go on a group trek you may feel peer pressure to go on when your body tells you it’s time to stop. You can read all the lists and blog posts you want, and I am including a few with this article, but it has to start with this: Go with people in your own age bracket and skill level. As an older American, a woman of short stature in my late 50’s, I went trekking with two Dutch women around my age, but were 6-8 inches taller than me. Dutch? Oh my god! these people ride their bicycles in the snow! Americans get into their car and push the remote garage door button to get to work. Well, they schooled me. By the time I caught up with the group they had rested long enough to want to go on. Do not allow anyone to make you feel like you have to keep up with them. Stay focused on your body and allow it to speak to you; listen to it.
|These trekkers are helping each other with back issues.|
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