Planning a trip to Ladakh or high Himalayas? Have you heard about AMS? This article can be the best thing to happen to your preparation for the Ladakh road trip if you are not aware of AMS   Pictures and videos of Ladakh trips induce such a great excitement to see the landscape through own set of eyes to many but what if you can not appreciate the beauty in your best form even after being there!! AMS does that to most of the people who visit Ladakh without being prepared for this acute and very common condition. Once hit, only thing a person think about is to leave Ladakh instead of capturing it’s pristine beauty through eyes and cameras. Yes, AMS can be that bad!   What the hell is AMS??? AMS or Anti Mountain Sickness or Acute Mountain Sickness or Altitude sickness or Altitude bends or Soroche or Hypobaropathy is a pathological effect of high altitudes on human beings caused by travelling to 8000 feet & above in a short period of time. As Ladakh starts from 9000 feet above sea level,you should be Aware & Alert for the symptoms of AMS as soon as you enter Ladakh region. Ladakh is located at the altitudes ranging from 9000 to 15000 feet above sea level (civilisation). Travelling to this altitude in a short period of time can lead to deranging health condition in which most common is ALTITUDE SICKNESS. This condition is due to low oxygen levels at high altitude & reduced air pressure mostly causing hangover like condition manifested as headache,vomiting,dizziness,shortness of breath,cough and sometimes diarrhoea. Eventually you can safely travel upto 8000 feet in 24 hours but beyond this you should ideally ascend only 1000 feet in 24 hours to adapt to the low oxygen levels.   YOU CAN EVEN LOSE YOUR PRECIOUS LIFE !! Yes it’s true, some severe forms of AMS like ‘High altitude pulmonary edema’ (HAPE) and ‘High altitude cerebral edema’ (HACE) can be life threatening as many lose their lives because of them every year after developing HAPE & HACE after travelling and sleeping at High altitudes (8000 feet & above). Generally AMS is not a life threat until severe and takes 1-2 days to ween off with no residual effects. Medically Altitude sickness has three forms. Mild altitude sickness is called acute mountain sickness (AMS) and is quite similar to a hangover – it causes headache, nausea, and fatigue. This is very common: some people are only slightly affected, others feel awful. However, if you have AMS, you should take this as a warning sign that you are at risk of the serious forms of altitude sickness: HAPE and HACE. Both HAPE and HACE can be fatal within hours. HAPE HAPE is excess fluid on the lungs, and causes breathlessness. It is never normal to feel breathless when you are resting – even on the summit of Everest. This should be taken as a sign that you have HAPE and may die soon. HAPE can also cause Read More
Posted by Sharad Tyagi