What are the effects of high altitude on individuals with asthma?

Asthma is a condition affecting the lung that constricts the air passages. In most cases, it results to difficulty breathing. The condition can manifest if the individual engages in strenuous activity. Some of the symptoms of asthma include heavy breathing, wheezing and constriction of the chest. Those who have asthma can experience difficulty breathing once exposed to triggers in the environment that initiates the allergic reactions. An attack occurs when the air pressure makes breathing difficult for the individual.

High altitude effects on individuals with asthma


High altitudes can range from 5,000 feet above sea level up to 11,000 feet. The individual who ascends these heights might experience hyperventilation. Those who have asthma can struggle for air as they go higher since the amount of oxygen decreases as the altitude goes higher. The lungs will start to fight for air and the individual will start to breathe deeply and quickly. Take note that it will be difficulty to maintain normal blood levels in areas with high altitudes. This is an issue among those who love to engage in outdoor treks in elevated regions as well as mountain climbers.


Asthma is a condition affecting the lung that constricts the air passages.

Acute mountain sickness

It is important to note that acute mountain sickness usually occurs once the body is not accustomed to the decrease in the oxygen or air pressure. As the individual ascends to a higher altitude without appropriately preparing the lungs and the brain, the individual will start to get sick. This is why those who plan to go on mountain treks should undergo proper training as well as the safety precautions. Essentially, individuals must take breaks while climbing every few feet to allow the body acclimatize to the new air levels.

The indications of acute mountain sickness include lightheadedness, dizziness or feeling nauseous. The loss of oxygen at high altitudes can easily trigger an asthma attack that can be life-threatening. Always remember that higher altitudes can also trigger coughing which can eventually lead to the constriction of the chest. It is important to enroll in a first aid course that includes wilderness training so that you know what to do.

High altitude pulmonary edema

Pulmonary edema is due to exposure to high altitudes involves the accumulation of fluid in the lungs. The condition can be considered detrimental for individuals who have asthma since the fluid in the lungs will make it difficult for the individual to breathe and forces the lungs to gasp for more oxygen.

In case the airways become limited or swollen, it will make it very hard for the individual who have asthma to properly breathe. Take note that pulmonary edema can also cause the individual to lose consciousness. It is recommended that the individual who have pulmonary edema to descend to the height of 3,000 feet below the altitudes that are considered as dangerous for the individual.


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