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Rachel

Adjusting To High Altitude And Dry Climate

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We are considering moving to a city with a dry climate and an elevation of 7,000 feet. I have never been at a high elevation for more than 2 or 3 weeks at a time. I know how it impacts me in the short-term, but I'm not sure how it would affect me after a few months. Have any of you moved from a low elevation to a high elevation? How did you handle the transition? Did your body eventually adjust okay? If the place you live in is also very dry, I'd be interested to know how the dry climate affects you as well.

In the first couple of weeks at a high elevation (5,000 - 7,000 feet) I have a higher heart rate and lower oxygen saturation. The first 24 hours are especially hard. I get very tired, sleepy, short of breath, my lungs hurt, and my oxygen saturation stays at 93% while resting. After a couple of days it improves some, but my saturation rates still drop to 95% with activity. Although 95% is considered to be in the normal range, I always feel more tired when my saturation levels are at or below 96%. Even while resting at a high altitude, my oxygen saturation doesn't get back up to 99% or 100% like it is normally for me.

I have never lived at an elevation above 1,600 feet, and I'm not sure how a high altitude would affect me long term. The area we are considering moving to would also be very dry. I have lived in a very dry climate before in Alaska, and I handled that pretty well. My gastroparesis wasn't as much of an issue back then, though, so I'm not sure if I will be able to orally take in the fluids I would need to live in a dry climate again.

There's no real way to know how a high altitude and dry climate will affect me long term without moving and seeing how it goes. But if anyone can share their experience of moving to a high altitude and/or living in a dry climate, I would be very grateful!

Thanks,

Rachel

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Hi Rachel! It's been a while since I've seen you, been hoping you've been doing well!! I don't have any personal experience for your topic you posted however Ive had this article saved for a while and thought it might be helpful. How have the migraines been for you? Take good care of yourself! :) Sarah

"The Autonomic Nervous System at High Altitude" http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1797062/

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Hi Rachel--nice to see you here! That is exciting that you are considering this move. I don't have any experience with living a higher altitudes, but I also have problems at higher altitudes, esp over 7,000 ft. But have never been at these altitudes longer than a week or so. I know my doctor has said that POTS patients' biggest problem is adjusting to new/changing environmental conditions. We can adjust but it takes time. I know I have also read that it takes about one month even for a healthy person's body to entirely adjust to a much higher altitude. But when leaving that higher altitude within a week of being away from that environment they would need a month again to readjust. Higher altitudes are just not as supportive of human physiology/function...but definitely seems it would be possible to adjust!

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I came from az. Dry and about the same altitude. But warmer.no real symptoms there. Moved north to mt and my oh my. What a diff. I know look forward to my doc appts on the west coast and sea level

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Hi everyone, thanks so much for the replies! We haven't made a decision yet about moving, but it is something we are still considering.

Sarah, last year was a very tough year for me physically, but I have had some improvements in the past few months, and I am so grateful for that. My migraines have been lessening in the past two months. They do still flare up with too much activity, not enough sleep, or too much noise, but they aren't as bad as they were last year. I'm not sure why the migraine symptoms have improved (I'm doing the same treatments I was last year), but I'm glad they have!

Katherine, thanks for the information. It is interesting that it takes so long to adjust to high altitude. I guess travel would always be hard since it would probably involve going to a lower elevation and then having to reacclimate to the higher elevation. But at least I know to be prepared for a difficult few days anythime I would return home to a high elevation.

Bigskyfam, that is interesting that Montana is so much harder for you. I'm so sorry! Is it humid where you are? Does humidity make a difference for you?

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For me the height would probably cause problems, but I'd love a dry climate! Glad to hear you are doing a little better Rachel and good luck on making the right decision for you and your family!

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