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Experiences at altitude?

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Has anyone here vacationed at altitudes above 7,000 ft?  If so, how did your body take it? I want to know what I'm in for next month.

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This is really interesting, as I've had some severe "surges" on planes. I know planes are usually pressurised to be below 7000 ft (as far as I'm aware, but they can be up to 8000 ft), however, personally, my body doesn't cope too well with dramatic change in altitude. I am assuming it's because the decrease in oxygen, however slight, then causes my ANS to go into overdrive, setting off an episode and speeding up heart rate and breathing in an attempt to rectify the problem. 

With all that said - I'm sure there are people who this doesn't happen to, so I don't mean to scare you at all. 

If you're fine on planes, I think you'll be fine at that altitude. 

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I live in Peyton Colorado, just outside Colorado Springs at 7,369 ft. We travel frequently into the springs for dr appointments etc which is about 1,000 ft lower. I always have some difficulty coming back if I spend longer in the Springs, IE hospital stays. Whatever symptoms I get from it are only slight but makes me feel lethargic and fatigued much quicker than my normal. What we have observed is when some people come to visit Colorado from low elevation they experience altitude sickness for a couple days. Others do not. Not sure exactly why some are affected and not others...  Water is your best friend for dealing with altitude, also not jumping straight into strenuous activity. My Aunt who does Triathlons had trouble with shortness of breath just walking around Garden of the Gods. 

I hope that you are one of those people that don't get hit severely and you are able to enjoy your trip! 

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Yes as others said everyone is affected differently.  But most people are best off hydrating and taking it easy for a day or so when going to higher elevation over 5,000 ft.  I have vacationed at 7,000 ft + and did ok.  10,000 ft and higher were rough for me, without a couple of days of rest.

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Many people write about flying but airplanes are pressurized so it isn't as bad as being at altitude in my opinion.  Airplane travel was exhausting for me when I first got sick and I felt sick for days after getting home.  Now I don't feel it at all.  I think it very individual and also depend on the severity of your dysatuonomia.

Since getting POTS almost 15 years ago I have avoided altitudes.  I did go to Switzerland a few years ago and went on a day trip in the Alps which are about 11,000 feet.  I felt a bit out of breath, but no headache or lasting effects.  As far as I remember I was fine once I got off the mountain.  

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I just went to CO for the first time since having POTS, and I had a terrible time. I didn't get typical altitude sickness, but my POTS symptoms were all much more severe due to the altitude. I had syncope for days, and felt like I was going to pass out constantly for ten days. I almost went to the emergency room three times because of some very scary symptoms. I could not wait to get out of there!! I will never go back to the mountains as long as I have POTS. Once I got home, the severity of my symptoms lessened greatly.

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I don't do well on airplanes either, constant dizziness for days!

The last year or so I've developed awful vertigo and motion sickness doing things I never had issues with, such as driving. It definitely sucks. 

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I do fine on airplanes, but I live in the foothills - outside of Denver.  Every time I travel to lower altitude and return, I have a few days of adjustment with mild symptoms.

As everyone mentioned - hydration/salt.  EmergenC is very helpful also in alleviating very mild altitude sickness issues.  A physician friend of mine told me that it is comparable to what they give their patients.  You might want to start taking it prior to your travel and while you are in altitude.

Be careful with exertion.  I have had my worst episodes when in higher altitudes in the mountains - doing fairly easy hikes.  Don't push yourself.   

 

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Yes, I have & I feel so much better at higher altitudes. Last summer went to Colorado, & I felt human again, hardly any altitude sickness. My husband is a fit & active guy, and he had altitude sickness for a few days. I did well at Yellowstone. Maybe it could be also because where I live near Charlotte, NC the humidity is high.

Yes, I have a problem with motion & planes sometimes.

Drinking a lot of water is key at higher altitudes.

I always remember Micheal J Fox saying his Parkinson’s symptoms were basically gone when he went to the Himalayas.

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I live in Colorado and frequently go into the mountains (mostly long drives up into Rocky Mountain National Park) sometimes as high as 12,000 ft. I'm pretty acclimatized to it but going that high: you may want to double your salt and water intake and be extra careful about overexertion.

Otherwise for me, I feel better up there. Might just be because it's so lovely and being in nature recharges me. I go up at least twice a month as long as the roads are open. 

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Now that I am back from my vacation at 7,900 ft, I can post an update.  There were 6 adults and 3 kids on the trip.  Three of the adults have POTS, of which 2 also have NCS and 1 CFS.  Everyone got a headache.  Most of the adults mentioned getting winded with extertion much easier than at sea level.  I kept checking my SpO2 on my phone, and it went from 98 - 100 % at sea level to 87 - 93%.  Overall my experience was about the same as everyone else's.  The extremely low humidity removed a variable that usually makes me feel poorly (dewpoint temperatures were in the mid 40's Fahrenheit, compared to 60 - 75 at home).

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I just got back from a camping trip up around 8,000 ft and I already want to go back. I feel so much more like my old self at altitude and as soon as I'm back home, I'm reminded of all my symptoms. 
In the mountains for 3 days, I went on 3 hikes, one of them pretty steep and intensive. I was constantly moving and doing things and had more of an ability to focus without all that brain fog. I could spend energy, rest and regenerate it and keep up with my family. 

Home now? I barely made it through the grocery store and was down for the rest of the day. 

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I might actually have a theory as to why I feel better at high altitude:

In the mountains there’s less oxygen due to the altitude and the human body compensates for this by increasing it’s production of red blood cells to better supply the body with needed oxygen. I feel better at high altitude because it forces my body to increase it’s blood volume, thus eliminating my symptoms related to untreated hypovolemia. 

I've been suspecting low blood volume for some time now so it's interesting that this is pointing to the same thing. Has anyone else experienced something like this? Does this sound plausible to you?

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