Best way to prevent altitude sickness is to go slow: Dr Sushil

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STATE TIMES NEWS

JAMMU: While conducting a day long health check up cum awareness camp at Shri Ram Mandir, Purani Mandi with the saints and common populace intended to undertake Shri Amarnath Pilgrimage, Dr. Sushil Sharma stated that high altitude provides a unique physiologic challenge to the cardiovascular system.
A new report from the American Heart Association revealed that visiting high-altitude locations may be dangerous for people with high blood pressure or certain heart conditions, Dr. Sushil said.
He expressed that changes in physiological functions during high altitude exposure vary given an individual’s physical fitness, rate of ascent, severity and duration of exposure, geographical locations, and genetic variation.
While high altitude is well tolerated by most individuals, patients with cardiovascular and lung diseases are at risk of complications caused by tissue hypoxia and reduced oxygen delivery, sympathetic stimulation, increased myocardial demand, paradoxical vasoconstriction, and alterations in hemodynamics that occur with exposure to high altitude, Dr. Sushil said adding that the duration of travel, ascent profile, degree of exertion, and any prior cardiovascular history can each impact the health of a patient with cardiovascular disease who is considering traveling to high altitude.
Elaborating further on the theme, he stated that altitude exposure can also lead to a variety of well-described clinical syndromes including some not directly involving the cardiovascular system, such as acute mountain sickness, high altitude pulmonary edema, high altitude cerebral edema, and high altitude retinal hemorrhage.
Keeping in view the pilgrimage to holy shrine, this is located at high altitude, he advises the people to increase accent altitude gradually to give the body time to adjust to lower oxygen levels, drinking lots of fluids for better hydration, limiting or avoiding alcohol, and planning how to descend in an emergency.
If someone develops symptoms like headache, nausea, dizziness, Feeling Tired, Shortness of Breath, faster Heart rate , Trouble Sleeping and loss of appetite, you should stop climbing any higher and return to lower elevation level, Dr. Sushil advised.
He further suggested that people with heart conditions should consult a doctor about whether they need to adjust heart medications before travel.
Together with a health care professional, a plan should be developed before travel, bearing in mind the location and duration of travel, along with the severity of the individual’s medical conditions, he added.
More than 250 Yatris and people around the area were examined, evaluated and advised during the camp. ECG, Blood Sugar, HBA1C and Lipid profile was conducted and medicines were also given as per the requirements.
Management Committee of Shri Ram Mandir Purani Mandi Mahant Shri Rameshwar Dass appreciated Dr Sushil and his team for conducting Cardiac Awareness cum Health Check up Camp.
Others who were part of this camp included Dr Nasir Ali Choudhary (Cardiologist), Dr Dhaneshwar Kapoor and Dr Anitpal Singh Asstt Prof.(Ortho).Paramedics and Volunteers include Sukhdev Singh, Kamal Sharma, Raghav rajput, Ranjeet Singh, Rajkumar, Ashish Sharma, Narinder Sharma, Kamal Sharma, Rakesh Pandit, Vijay Sharma, Aman Gupta, Rajinder Singh , Maninder Singh, Vikas Sharma, Vinay Kumar, Sunil Pandit and Akshay Kumar.