What To Know About Elevation and Dehydration

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Have plans to get elevated this vacation season? No, I’m not speaking about leisure partaking, however reasonably spending time in leisure areas at excessive altitudes. In case you’re headed to mountains, parks, or different locales at considerably excessive elevations—sometimes 8,000 ft or extra above sea degree—there are some things it is best to know earlier than you go to protect your health.

Forward, see what adverse symptoms can arise at high altitudes; and extra importantly, how one can cease them from placing a damper in your journey plans.

4 issues to know earlier than you journey to excessive elevations

1. Altitude illness is pretty frequent

“Touring to mountains with important altitudes could make individuals inclined to altitude illness [due to] decrease air stress and air oxygen ranges,” says Daniel Hermann, MD, an interventional heart specialist at Memorial Hermann in Houston, Texas. When you reside someplace comparatively near sea degree, your likelihood of experiencing acute mountain sickness (AMS) will largely rely upon the altitude of your journey spot. AMS impacts roughly 25 % of individuals sleeping above 8,000 ft, and plenty of as 40 to 50 % of these sleeping above 10,000. (Nonetheless, some individuals battle with AMS at elevations beginning at 6,500 ft above sea degree.)

2. Going too excessive too quick can set off signs

If doable, attempt to slowly and steadily enhance your altitude as you intend your adventures. “Our our bodies can acclimate over a interval of days or even weeks to those elevations by adjusting our biochemistry. But when we rapidly transfer to these elevations, you possibly can develop medical issues, mostly altitude illness,” Dr. Hermann shares. By steadily getting used to excessive elevations—maybe by settling at a base camp for a couple of days earlier than venturing as much as larger factors and peaks—you possibly can scale back your possibilities of feeling sick or out of kinds.

In accordance with Dr. Hermann, the most typical signs of altitude illness embrace nausea, vomiting, and headache, that are “typically delicate and often resolve inside a few days.” Nonetheless, in the event you expertise extra extreme signs—together with chest tightness, intense problem respiratory, and stability or coordination points, he advises in search of instant medical consideration.

3. Your intestine well being can take a success

It’s frequent to expertise digestive irregularities like bloating, constipation, and diarrhea whereas touring. On high of that, touring to excessive altitudes also can set off intestinal barrier dysfunction. Per a 2022 review within the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, acute publicity to excessive altitudes might result in elevated intestinal permeability and irritation within the intestine and elsewhere within the physique. So as to add insult to harm, acetazolamide—a drugs usually prescribed to stop and deal with altitude illness—can cause GI distress.

Nonetheless, it’s not all doom and gloom. The authors checklist sure dietary dietary supplements that may assist preserve your intestinal barrier and better intestine well being in preventing form. Higher but, you would possibly already take a few of them every day. These embrace:

  • Glutamine, which strengthens tight junctions and suppresses proinflammatory pathways
  • Bovine colostrum, which may stave off stress-induced intestinal harm
  • Curcumin (the energetic ingredient in turmeric), which can fortify the intestinal barrier by lowering oxidative stress
  • Probiotics, sure sorts of which (together with Bifidobacterium species) can improve intestinal epithelial barrier perform

4. You’re extra inclined to dehydration

Decrease air stress, much less oxygen, and extra labored respiratory at excessive elevations can all contribute to dehydration and water loss. “Dehydration is a well-described set off for altitude illness,” Dr. Hermann provides, “so staying properly hydrated is a good way to keep away from or mitigate this hassle.”

A few of the greatest methods to remain hydrated whereas touring—particularly in the event you’re partaking in bodily actions similar to hikes and water sports activities, and even merely lounging at excessive altitudes—embrace:

  • Boosting your water consumption earlier than and through your journey
  • Snacking on water-rich fruits and veggies (together with watermelon, cucumbers, lettuce, and berries)
  • Including electrolyte packets to your water

Whereas it’s useful so as to add these into your souped up journey hydration routine, it’s simply as essential to know what it is best to restrict or keep away from. “Alcohol and caffeine are identified to advertise dehydration,” Dr. Hermann reminds us. “For that reason, [they] must be used sparingly whereas at excessive altitudes.” When you can’t give up both (it’s trip, in any case), a minimum of goal to extend water consumption greater than ordinary and/or sip on H2O in between servings of espresso and cocktails.


Nicely+Good articles reference scientific, dependable, latest, strong research to again up the knowledge we share. You may belief us alongside your wellness journey.

  1. Zachary J. McKenna, Felipe Gorini Pereira, Trevor L. Gillum, Fabiano T. Amorim, Michael R. Deyhle, and Christine M. Mermier. “Excessive-altitude exposures and intestinal barrier dysfunction.” American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 2022 322:3, R192-R203
  2. Hsieh, Chen-Yu et al. “Strengthening of the intestinal epithelial tight junction by Bifidobacterium bifidum.” Physiological experiences vol. 3,3 (2015): e12327. doi:10.14814/phy2.12327


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