Altitude Sickness in the Himalaya

It may be the passion and dream of people to visit the Himalayas once in a lifetime. To fulfill such a dream, it is our concern matter about what might be the potential factor affecting our journey at high altitude. We know the terms as an increase in height, level of oxygen in the air will decrease. Partial oxygen pressure of air in the surrounding environment is regarded as altitude sickness or mountain sickness.

Altitude sickness can occur to any people, especially the people who live at sea level need to take it seriously. It begins to appear from 3,500m above sea level. The symptoms may vary from person to person. The same symptoms may not appear to all people. The common symptoms of altitude sickness are

  • shortness of breath,
  • rapid breath,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • dizziness or lightheadedness,
  • weakness or fatigue,
  • difficulty in sleeping, 
  • loss of appetite.


If the common altitudes symptoms are left untreated or neglected. It will emphasize soon to overcome high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) and high altitude cerebral edema (HACE). HACE and HAPE develop after the symptoms of altitude sickness or mountain sickness appear. Altitude sickness mainly causes whether to build up fluids in the lungs or to build up fluids in the brain. Entering water into the lungs is called "high altitude pulmonary edema" (HAPE) in medical terms. Water that collects in the brain is a condition called "high altitude cerebral edema" (HACE). Altitude sickness is more likely to incur people with a previous history of altitude sickness.

The symptoms of high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) include 

  • chest tightness or fullness,
  • extreme fatigue,
  • unable to catch breath even at rest time,
  • blue or gray lips and fingernails,
  • coughing, which may produce pink frothy fluid,
  • fever,
  • noises when breathing like rattling or gurgling sounds and
  • blurred vision.


The symptoms that develop from high altitude cerebral edema (HACE) are

  • headache and vomiting,
  • difficulty in walking,
  • confusion,
  • exhaustion,
  • changes normal behavior and coma.


Thus, altitude sickness may be life-threatening if it is not taken or treated carefully on time for symptoms. Climbing quickly without taking enough rest time is a reason for altitude sickness.

Discovery World Trekking team is well trained and aware of altitude sickness precaution and prevention. First of all, Discovery World Trekking crew members are guided by the concept of "Climb- high, sleep low." All our team members including leaders, guides, and porters, etc live in high elevation settlements from different trekking regions. We strictly prohibit the consumption of alcohol, smoking, and sleeping pills during a trek to high altitude areas in order to prevent dehydration. Drinking at least 4 liters of water each day, ascending slowly, and use in the consumption of organic herbals such as garlic, hot lemon, and adequate liquid fresh food, etc support to prevent symptoms of altitude sickness to a certain degree. We always suggest to our clients to purchase insurance policy coverage prior to fix for trekking. In a very sensitive case, rescue in remote areas is accessible only by helicopter.

Do not worry! Discovery World Trekking is an associated member of the Himalayan Rescue Association. We communicate each day during the trek with our crew members to understand the current situation of our clients. We have been arranging rescue operations to all trekking destinations and climbing expeditions of Nepal Himalayas in a complicated condition to save our client's life. The expenditure incurred in the rescue operation is bearded by your purchase of insurance policy.

Discovery World Trekking proudly declares in the capable of handling and confronting all difficult conditions during the course of trekking and adventure expeditions in Nepal Himalayan to make your journey a lifetime experience.