Question re: altitude sickness

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Question re: altitude sickness

Postby Chaz » Sat Jul 30, 2011 2:09 am

Huseng wrote:Next month I'll be flying into to Leh, Ladakh, which is 3524 meters above sea-level. While I've never experienced altitude sickness before, this time it is a concern just because I am flying rather than driving into a high altitude location and will be remaining there for awhile.

In TB are there are precautions one can take? Also, is there any way of dealing with mild high altitude sickness symptoms?


"Altitude Sickness" usually affects the old, or those who have a compromised pulmonary system. You should be fine, if you observe some simple precautions.

First of all hydrate. Drink LOTS of water. Drink as much water as you can and keep it coming. Most people who suffer from AS are dehydrated. When you pee clear, you're sufficiently hydrated. If you feel thirsty, you're already on the way to deydration. Don't let it get that far. Stay away from soda or any beverage with caffine or alchohol in it, including energy drinks - they will dehydrate you.

Keep a bottle of water with you at all times and take little sips. Don't let yourslef get thirsty and then drink a shitload of water to try and quench the thirst. While the immediate thirst may be quenched, most of the water you've wolfed down will just get peed out in a few minutes leaving you still dehydrated.

Don't beat yourself up physically. Take it easy at first. You're going to be up around 11,000 ft. You WILL feel that. You'll crap out quickly.

Drink LOTS of water.

Keep yourself covered as well as you can. The sun will be very intense at that altitude. Don't skimp on sunblockers. Find a good, wide-brimmed hat. Lightweight long-sleeved shirts are a must.

Keep a jacket with you all the time. At that altitude, if the sun ducks behind a cloud, the air temperature will drop like a rock. You do not want to get hypothermia, either.

Your vision may get wierd. You may experience a ringing in the ears. The lack of oxygen may make you a bit dizzy. you may not sleep well at first. If you're in good shape your body should adapt.

Drink lots of water.

If you start experiencing AS symptoms, it's too late. You're already officially in trouble. You want to avoid AS not try to treat it.
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Re: High altitude symptoms

Postby mudra » Sat Jul 30, 2011 4:19 am

Risking the moderators axe, although I am not a practitioner of Tibetan medicine I have flown in to Ley a couple of times, and did get mildly sick from the altitude. If you do have problems and the meds that Namdrol recommend are not enough, there are amchis (tibetan medicine practitioners) in Ley of course but there are also a couple of tibetan medecine clinics around who are very familiar with the problems some people experience when they fly in.
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Question re: altitude sickness

Postby Tara » Sat Jul 30, 2011 5:06 am

This topic has been created to enable those who wish to respond to

Huseng wrote:Next month I'll be flying into to Leh, Ladakh, which is 3524 meters above sea-level. While I've never experienced altitude sickness before, this time it is a concern just because I am flying rather than driving into a high altitude location and will be remaining there for awhile.

this topic with general answers or suggestions.

Thanks for your co-operation.

Regards,
rt
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Re: Question re: altitude sickness

Postby ronnewmexico » Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:42 am

hmmm
Last edited by ronnewmexico on Sat Jul 30, 2011 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Question re: altitude sickness

Postby Indrajala » Sat Jul 30, 2011 10:36 am

Chaz wrote:"Altitude Sickness" usually affects the old, or those who have a compromised pulmonary system. You should be fine, if you observe some simple precautions.


I have mild asthma, though it really only bothers me in dry and polluted places (like New Delhi). Anti-histamines remove the symptoms pretty quickly I've discovered.



Don't beat yourself up physically. Take it easy at first. You're going to be up around 11,000 ft. You WILL feel that. You'll crap out quickly.


I arrive at 7am, too. For some reason most flights to Leh depart very early in the morning from Delhi.



Keep yourself covered as well as you can. The sun will be very intense at that altitude. Don't skimp on sunblockers. Find a good, wide-brimmed hat. Lightweight long-sleeved shirts are a must.


I'll just hide inside the temple for the first few days. Maybe sleep. :smile:



Your vision may get wierd. You may experience a ringing in the ears. The lack of oxygen may make you a bit dizzy. you may not sleep well at first. If you're in good shape your body should adapt.


I think I'm generally healthy and like I said I never experienced any kind of high altitude symptoms before around Nepal, though in this case I'm flying into a high altitude location and not taking a van.

Thanks for the advice. I'll drink a lot :cheers: when I get there, don't worry. :roll:
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Re: High altitude symptoms

Postby Indrajala » Sat Jul 30, 2011 10:46 am

mudra wrote:Risking the moderators axe, although I am not a practitioner of Tibetan medicine I have flown in to Ley a couple of times, and did get mildly sick from the altitude. If you do have problems and the meds that Namdrol recommend are not enough, there are amchis (tibetan medicine practitioners) in Ley of course but there are also a couple of tibetan medecine clinics around who are very familiar with the problems some people experience when they fly in.


I don't think I'll have any problems, but I'm aware there could be. I live at sea level and have all my life, so relocating to 3500 meters above sea level in one day might be hard on the system.

Thanks for the advice.
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Re: High altitude symptoms

Postby mudra » Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:00 am

Huseng wrote:
mudra wrote:Risking the moderators axe, although I am not a practitioner of Tibetan medicine I have flown in to Ley a couple of times, and did get mildly sick from the altitude. If you do have problems and the meds that Namdrol recommend are not enough, there are amchis (tibetan medicine practitioners) in Ley of course but there are also a couple of tibetan medecine clinics around who are very familiar with the problems some people experience when they fly in.


I don't think I'll have any problems, but I'm aware there could be. I live at sea level and have all my life, so relocating to 3500 meters above sea level in one day might be hard on the system.

Thanks for the advice.


You're most welcome, no need for someone else to experience the anxiety I went thru! I had a night of racing heartbeat and problems breathing so overwhelming that I wrote a will during the night (needless to say upon review it was hilarious). And thank you to mods for opening this in lounge!

Basically there are various symptoms of disorientation etc that are caused by lack of oxygen to the brain, the red blood cells need to be helped out if you are prone to this problem. Besides being quickly out of breath, often you can't do simple things like count! It really has nothing to do with age or level of fitness. I met young, fit people who had trouble, others older didn't - it's all about the condition of your oxygen carrying blood cells etc.. Some of the advice above is good: don't push it for the first 2 or 3 days. Even walking might seem harmless (Ley is not flat but not totally hilly either) but still take it easy.

And don't forget that you need to acclimatize for at least two days BEFORE you go out to various temples etc not matter how good you feel because a good portion of the sites are actually even higher than Ley.
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Re: High altitude symptoms

Postby Indrajala » Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:00 am

mudra wrote:And don't forget that you need to acclimatize for at least two days BEFORE you go out to various temples etc not matter how good you feel because a good portion of the sites are actually even higher than Ley.


I'll be going straight to the temple upon arrival. I'll probably sleep away the first day, though I hope I won't suffer a racing heart and shortness of breath. I'm going to do a five month meditation retreat which will include prostrations, though I'll hold off doing those for the first week or so. No partying or drinking or much sightseeing for me. :smile:

However at some point I'd like to go visit some of the rural countryside up there.

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Re: High altitude symptoms

Postby Chaz » Sun Jul 31, 2011 3:02 pm

Huseng wrote:
mudra wrote:And don't forget that you need to acclimatize for at least two days BEFORE you go out to various temples etc not matter how good you feel because a good portion of the sites are actually even higher than Ley.


I'll be going straight to the temple upon arrival. I'll probably sleep away the first day, though I hope I won't suffer a racing heart and shortness of breath. I'm going to do a five month meditation retreat which will include prostrations, though I'll hold off doing those for the first week or so. No partying or drinking or much sightseeing for me. :smile:

However at some point I'd like to go visit some of the rural countryside up there.

Image



That sounds totally awesome!

Like I said, Take it easy and drink a lot of water at first. Not much you'll be able to do about low-oxygen effects (short breath, etc.) at first, but depending on your physical condition, aclimating to the altitude shouldn't take too long.

If the retreat center has a Rota program, you may want to consult with the abbot/retreat master to get jobs that don't tax you too much until you acclimate.

Have a GREAT retreat and my all beings benefit.
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Re: High altitude symptoms

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jul 31, 2011 3:25 pm

Chaz wrote:
ot much you'll be able to do about low-oxygen effects (short breath, etc.) at first, but depending on your physical condition, aclimating to the altitude shouldn't take too long.


A preperation with cordyceps will also help with altitude. It has been shown to enhance oxegyn uptake by to 25 percent, so it is commonly used for emphysema patients, the elderly and so on in China, as well as in high altitude preperations.

There is also a special type of prepared radish that even Tibetans use for crossing passes. This, according to people I know who have used it is very effective too.

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Re: High altitude symptoms

Postby Indrajala » Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:02 pm

Namdrol wrote:A preperation with cordyceps will also help with altitude. It has been shown to enhance oxegyn uptake by to 25 percent, so it is commonly used for emphysema patients, the elderly and so on in China, as well as in high altitude preperations.

There is also a special type of prepared radish that even Tibetans use for crossing passes. This, according to people I know who have used it is very effective too.

N


Do you know if Ginseng would help, too? I know it works with curing fatigue and has a warming effect, but I wonder if it would work in offsetting symptoms of adjusting to high altitudes.
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Re: High altitude symptoms

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:07 pm

Huseng wrote:
Namdrol wrote:A preperation with cordyceps will also help with altitude. It has been shown to enhance oxegyn uptake by to 25 percent, so it is commonly used for emphysema patients, the elderly and so on in China, as well as in high altitude preperations.

There is also a special type of prepared radish that even Tibetans use for crossing passes. This, according to people I know who have used it is very effective too.

N


Do you know if Ginseng would help, too? I know it works with curing fatigue and has a warming effect, but I wonder if it would work in offsetting symptoms of adjusting to high altitudes.



My advice is to see an Amchi sooner rather than later. Many Ladhakis speak english, so there should be little problem communicating. What sort of retreat are you doing, BTW?
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Re: High altitude symptoms

Postby Indrajala » Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:19 pm

Chaz wrote:Like I said, Take it easy and drink a lot of water at first. Not much you'll be able to do about low-oxygen effects (short breath, etc.) at first, but depending on your physical condition, aclimating to the altitude shouldn't take too long.

If the retreat center has a Rota program, you may want to consult with the abbot/retreat master to get jobs that don't tax you too much until you acclimate.

Have a GREAT retreat and my all beings benefit.


It isn't really a retreat centre, so much as it is a temple for both locals and pilgrims. The stupa is the main attraction.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanti_Stupa

Apparently a lot of tourists visit the stupa in the summer, but then the number drops quickly with the onset of cold weather. The temple area and residential quarters are quiet I've been told, which is what I want. In any case, when autumn hits few people will be around and by November I imagine it'll be dead. The abbot told me it is sometimes "too quiet". In January I have to make it down to Bodhgaya to get the Kalacakra initiation from HHDL.


Namdrol wrote:My advice is to see an Amchi sooner rather than later. Many Ladhakis speak english, so there should be little problem communicating. What sort of retreat are you doing, BTW?


Okay, I'll look into it once I get there. The abbot of the temple knows everyone in Leh, so it won't be an issue.

I'll be doing what I've been working on for a few years now, which is śamatha. I also want to do further analysis of emptiness as per Nāgārjuna's MMK. I'm going to read through Jizang's commentary on the MMK. I might spend the latter half totally engaged in śamatha. Getting to the first dhyāna would be ideal.
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Re: High altitude symptoms

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:22 pm

Huseng wrote:Getting to the first dhyāna would be ideal.



Not as hard as many people beleive.
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Re: High altitude symptoms

Postby Indrajala » Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:28 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Huseng wrote:Getting to the first dhyāna would be ideal.



Not as hard as many people beleive.


After spending two years in Tokyo and meditating in my dorm room I've concluded it can't be that hard provided one has sufficient isolation and quietude, which is what I don't have. My problem here in Tokyo is it is too noisy even in a residential part of the metropolis. Living in an international dorm doesn't help matters much what with the frequent alcohol consumption and ensuing racket it brings.

I'll also be doing my practice alone which helps. Group retreats come with too much BS.
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Re: High altitude symptoms

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:37 pm

Huseng wrote:...provided one has sufficient isolation and quietude, which is what I don't have. ...Group retreats come with too much BS.


Yes, many people do not realize this but the most important prerequisite for a successful retreat is that one is very relaxed. Also a balanced diet and lots of rest is important.

Groups retreats are for beginners.
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Re: High altitude symptoms

Postby Indrajala » Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:49 pm

Namdrol wrote:Yes, many people do not realize this but the most important prerequisite for a successful retreat is that one is very relaxed. Also a balanced diet and lots of rest is important.


Some Zen monasteries got it all wrong then. The one I was at insists on eating just rice gruel during retreat, sleeping less than 6 and a half hours and doing zazen on schedule regardless of your physical state (even if you're shitting your pants, you are expected to do zazen with everyone; if you don't you're told to leave the temple).

Ah well. Ladakh will be good. Ashram style vegetarian food, freedom to do my practice according to my own schedule and isolation. No internet, too.

There's the possibility I might stay in India for a few years. I'm going to start studying Classical Tibetan after the retreat ... don't want to start anything new while I'm supposed to be primarily focusing on meditation. If I stay in Ladakh for the long haul I'll learn colloquial Tibetan, too. Ladakhi might be fun, but then I imagine it isn't necessary given that monks there would speak Tibetan and English.
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Re: High altitude symptoms

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:30 pm

Huseng wrote:
Namdrol wrote:Yes, many people do not realize this but the most important prerequisite for a successful retreat is that one is very relaxed. Also a balanced diet and lots of rest is important.


Some Zen monasteries got it all wrong then.


Yes, they do. When one is quite realaxed, well rested, and with a balanced diet, one does not need as much sleep. But forcing people to subsist on lack of sleep interferes with meditative stability because it causes vata disturbances, as does poor food, and so on.

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Re: Question re: altitude sickness

Postby Adamantine » Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:23 pm

There is common and scientific evidence that the herb rhodiola helps prevent altitude sickness-- it is an adaptogen and is also used in Tibetan Medicine compounds. You can google it, and try it out as a preventative. Since it is an adaptogen it could only help with the general stress of travel too!
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Re: Question re: altitude sickness

Postby gnegirl » Mon Aug 01, 2011 2:19 am

high altitude and me do not get along.... attempted two retreats and spent both of them sick the first two days.... and the rest of time i felt like i couldn't ever really catch my breath.
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