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High Altitude and ME

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by Santilion, Mar 25, 2017.

  1. Santilion

    Santilion

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    I would like to ask if any of you have any experience with high altitudes after you came down with ME. I'm talking altitudes between 8000 and 12500 feet.
    For how long did you remain on such an altitude and what effect did it have on your condition?
     
  2. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

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    I had altitude sickness at 8000 feet (or a little higher) which I had never had before. I got a severe headache, some nausea, just felt awful. This happened pretty quickly within several hours of arriving. I don't remember how long we were there.

    I later learned that B12 might help with altitude sickness and realizing all the problems people with ME/CFS have with B12 metabolism and utilization, it makes sense. If I were going to a high elevation (which I have not done for many years), I would take extra B12 and see if that helped.
     
  3. Chrisb

    Chrisb Senior Member

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    I'm not sure what you are looking for with this question. I don't think the altitude was a problem per se. But I think that the exertion of climbing at above the heights mentioned was seriously harmful.
     
  4. Daffodil

    Daffodil Senior Member

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    @Santilion I remember waaaaay back they used to say that living at high altitudes made some people feel better. I cannot remember the exact details. I will google
     
  5. Daffodil

    Daffodil Senior Member

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    I cant find anything...does anyone remember this? something about people moving to high altitudes with CFS?
     
  6. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    KDM once commented casually that he thought that ME/CFS patients did best at about 5,000 ft--but I don't know what he based that on.
     
  7. Daffodil

    Daffodil Senior Member

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    @Sushi I remember this being talked about a lot in Peterson's heyday too
     
  8. Timaca

    Timaca Senior Member

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    I live at 7000 feet and have for over 20 years. I got CFS 13 years ago. Changing altitude (going to sea level for example) doesn't make a difference in how I feel. I used to hike all the time at higher elevations, and I still do, but I can't hike at all like I used to. Now I'm limited to short hikes (shall we call them strolls?) on mostly level ground. I can do some hills but not much.

    My family is backpacking in the Grand Canyon now. That used to be my second home, I was in there all the time. I was very tempted to try the hike with my husband carrying all my supplies but I chose not too. 4.5 miles each way with 3000 foot elevation gain is too much for me. That is sad as that was an easy hike before.....

    Best,
     
    Sancar, Helen, Valentijn and 4 others like this.
  9. CCC

    CCC Senior Member

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    We have no way of knowing without a long international flight.

    Our highest mountain - Mount Kosciuszko - is only 2,228 metres (7,310 ft)
     
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  10. Murph

    Murph :)

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    I live at sea level, once went to Colorado and felt definitely no worse, and possibly better.
     
  11. 5150

    5150 Senior Member

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    Lake Tahoe =6250 ft.
    Incline Village =6350 ft

    Plenty of sick patients there./ not addressing at 8000 ft and above, as per OP's question, I know.

    Colorado has by far the most towns above 8000ft. / www.City-Data.com
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2017
    Valentijn likes this.
  12. kangaSue

    kangaSue Senior Member

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    Was it something to do with erythropoiesis?

    At high altitudes, low levels of atmospheric oxygen have marked effects on physiology, ranging from relatively mild symptoms, such as breathlessness and dizziness, to severe symptoms, such as pulmonary and cerebral edema.

    Our oxygen-sensing mechanism increases the levels of erythropoietin (EPO), a glycoprotein hormone that stimulates erythrocyte production in response to low oxygen levels in the blood by interstitial fibroblasts in the renal cortex. Erythropoiesis is stimulated when blood oxygen content is reduced and low oxygen levels at high altitude can also elicit this response.

    EPO increases the red blood cell volume so the cells have a greater oxygen carrying capacity.
     
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  13. 5150

    5150 Senior Member

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    After many years with this illness, whatever it is, my red blood cells look like Mike Tyson beat them up. I'm surprised they 'remember' how to work at all. (probably not related to altitude though).
     
  14. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    I'm right at 5000 ft. When I moved here from sea level though, I didn't notice a change in symptoms.
     
  15. Santilion

    Santilion

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    Interesting about B12. I follow Fredd's B12 protocol and perhaps that'll help should I chose to go through with the trip. May I ask if the altitude made your condition worse, lingering even after reaching sea level again?

    The reason for me asking is because I've a chance, at long last, to follow on a trip in about a year. We will mostly travel long distances by bus and the altitudes will shift between sea-level up to 12500 feet. I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to approach this trip and I have my doubts about it since the high altitudes are making me seriously worried.
    We'll be pretty inactive otherwise (due to my ME), but we'll remain at the higher altitudes for days at times. Absolutely no climbing or walking long distances.

    I suspected people with ME would do worse on high altitudes due to the low pressure with the resulting lower oxygen-level. People that's been at altitudes higher than 8000 feet report symptoms which sounds eerily familiar to ME such as slow recovery, breathlessness after trivial exertions, weakness, a lower tolerance for physical activity (not counting PEM), migraines, gastrointestinal issues and so on. I assume the symptoms for a ME sick individual would be much worse.

    I understand that climbing and possibly walking uphill for a ME sick individual would prove harmful on such an altitude (or any altitude for that matter), but what if the altitude is reached by bus and that the physical activity is minimal?

    I would like to thank you all for your answers by the way :)
     
  16. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

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    It's been many years so it's hard to remember exactly, but I don't think the altitude caused any permanent change for the worse. I didn't know about B12 at the time, so it might have helped. But I would have problems also with long bus rides - I crash after long car rides even without any other physical exertion ...

    If I were you, I would bring extra B12 and if you start to have problems at a higher elevation, see if extra B12 helps. I hope you are able to enjoy the trip!
     
  17. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    I took a similar trip when I had ME--though I was in a milder stage then than I am now. The high altitudes really did me in--I couldn't walk 5 steps without getting dreadful symptoms. I don't know for sure whether I would have responded differently to high altitude if I didn't have ME, but I did respond much worse than the others I was traveling with. That said, it was a wonderful trip and I'm glad I went.
     
  18. Diwi9

    Diwi9 Senior Member

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    I live at about 7,000 ft. This question is of interest to me as Dr. Paul Cheney has discussed the Everest III study and found that (http://mdwme.blogspot.com/2013/04/dr-paul-cheneys-latest-observations.html):
    • When the healthy people in the study were given oxygen at simulated high altitude all those ECHO changes totally normalized.
    • When ME patients are given O2 all those same abnormal ECHO parameters get even worse.
      • So what does this mean? That ME patients cannot deal with increased O2 throughput (required to make energy via aerobic metabolism) and therefore their bodies restrict it to prevent oxidative damage
     
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  19. PennyIA

    PennyIA Senior Member

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    I had altitude sickness when I went to Colorado in the 90's and didn't have this yet.

    I went back after my first remission period and at that time I knew to drink a lot more water and didn't notice any change in symptoms (albeit, I was in a remission period).
     
  20. Mohawk1995

    Mohawk1995 Senior Member

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    Our son always noted a period of improvement going to Colorado on vacation (above 8,000 feet at times). Was only for a week at a time at most. He was born at 6,500 ft and lived there until the age of 6. Lived then 1,200 ft altitude. Of course it was always on vacation so that might have helped him feel better. No negative impacts ever noted as a result of altitude, but we did not hike at very high altitude over 10,000 ft ever.
     

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