The most common illness associated with travel to altitude is termed acute mountain sickness (AMS).

AMS develops in climbers ascending to high altitudes who are not sufficiently acclimatised. With more and more people travelling to high altitude, research into possible risk factors has become of paramount importance. AMS usually develops within 6-12 hours of reaching a critical altitude and peaks at approximately 24 hours. Although some incidences of AMS have been reported at as low as 1000m the condition is usually experienced at an altitude of approximately 3,000m and above. Common symptoms associated with AMS include headaches, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and disturbances in sleep amongst others and if left untreated it can develop into more serious and even life threatening conditions.

The Research

Burtscher et al, (2007) in “Prediction of the susceptibility to AMS in simulated altitude” (below) sets out to identify the most valuable tests in the prediction of AMS through a thorough review of previous research in the area.
Within the second paper “Pre acclimatization in simulated altitudes” the same author goes on to examine the effectiveness of current pre acclimatization methods and draws conclusions as to which, if any, are most suitable.
Read the artcles here:

Prediction of the susceptibility to AMS in simulated altitude
Pre acclimatization in simulated altitudes

Points to consider;

1. Can any susceptibility test truly account for every individual’s response to real altitude exposure?
2. How can acclimatization protocols be supported or supplemented?

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