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michelle Annett
(andrewz) - F
altitude sickness? on 07/12/2008 20:32:40 MDT Print View

On the last several trips i have i seem to be feeling really ill after day 1. For example I just got back today for a 20 mile backpacking trip over 1 night and 2 days. When i woke up the next morning i couldn't stomach anything. I ended up throwing up once and throughout the rest of the 12 Miles to the car i couldn't even think about the prospect of eating food. It was a very agonizing 12 miles seeing how i felt like my body was going to fall apart from the lack of calorie intake. ( we hiked up the FLAT lake in Ansel Adam wilderness which is about 8800 ft )

Sadly this has been happening on more and more of my trips. I don't believe this can be completely related to altitude sickness though. I was wondering if any one else has had this before? I intake plenty of water and i don't believe i am over exhorting myself to cause myself not to want to eat. I have also felt this way at only being at 7000 feet. I could see getting altitude sickness if your above 9k all of a sudden but not at 7k right? Thanks for the advice and if any one has had this problem please respond. (ps i live in the mountains so i am already at 3k sleeping every night)


Sorry if this is the wrong forums but i wasn't sure were this might belong.

andrew

Edited by andrewz on 07/12/2008 20:33:30 MDT.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: altitude sickness? on 07/12/2008 20:53:01 MDT Print View

What has the weather been like? That can play in.

Also, have you started any new meds? Even OTC ones can play havoc.

michelle Annett
(andrewz) - F
Weather on 07/12/2008 21:46:28 MDT Print View

The weather is fine it was a little smokey because of all forest fire we have next to us right now. However i do not believe that is related because this has happened on several other accounts were conditions are perfect. I have not taken any new med. It seems like i am not going to be able to get to much help on this seeing how its somewhat weird and it could be a number of things. I just need to get to the bottom of it before my 120 mile trip or i may not be able to do it.

Lyan Jordan
(redmonk)

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
altitude sickness? on 07/12/2008 21:57:04 MDT Print View

How hard were you hiking, and how often did you take a break ?

What is your water routine ? How often are you drinking, and how much at a time ?

Did your problems start after a trip where you may have picked up a parasite ?

Edited by redmonk on 07/12/2008 22:07:28 MDT.

michelle Annett
(andrewz) - F
hiking on 07/12/2008 22:21:57 MDT Print View

We did a 50/10 split for hiking and on uphill i would slow down to 2 mph uphill or whatever my body told me to. I would not say i was hiking very hard. It is possible i could have picked up something but i have always filtered water so i doubt it would be from that. I drink a lot of water seeing as i am a big man and i sweat like crazy. I probably drank 120-140 ounces of water every day when i back pack ( about half a liter or more every 50/10 min break). The weird part is that it is always after the first day. During the first day i am perfectly fine and i eat my 3000-3500 calories that day. However the next day is a totally different story, i cant even choke down food, or i can but i cant hold it. Could this possible be something maybe unconsciously? I get a little nervous/excited. Sometimes i do prone to worry a little more than i always have to. Thanks again for you guys reply s

andrew

Edited by andrewz on 07/12/2008 22:34:13 MDT.

Nick Chen
(fleetparadox) - F

Locale: Socal
Hyponatremia? on 07/13/2008 03:24:19 MDT Print View

Andrew,

Could you be suffering from a bit of hyponatremia?

Last week, when I took my girlfriend to San Jacinto she drank too much water and flushed out all the sodium in her system.

She kept vomiting everytime she tried to eat or drink any liquid. It was a 5 hr death march from 9500 ft back down to the trailhead. Fortunately 2 liters of IV in the ER and a night's rest brought her back from a near incoherent disoriented mess.

The doctors essentially said she hadn't eaten enough, didn't get enough sodium, and drank too much "free water" while sweating alot. Altitude sickness may have pushed her over the edge but the lack of nutrition (too late) really kept her from recovering.

Hope you can figure out what is going on.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: hiking on 07/13/2008 03:53:32 MDT Print View

> I probably drank 120-140 ounces of water every day when i back pack ( about half a liter or more every 50/10 min break).
That is way too much water. You are probably massively upsetting your body with this amount of drinking.

In summer (Australia) I might drink 2 L on a hot day (excluding dinner time). In winter I might drink 0.5 L in the day. OK, I drink a bit less than most, but even so ...

Worry - yeah, but I suspect that is secondary.

Cheers

Nathan Moody
(atomick) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: altitude sickness? on 07/13/2008 08:55:36 MDT Print View

Best of luck tracking this down; definitely don't let a forum posting be a replacement for seeing a doctor if it's a real concern!

You started your post saying you felt crappy at after day 1 - do you stabilize after the fateful Night One? I sometimes get to feeling poorly at altitude, too, but after day 1 my health always stabilizes. I've never vomited but I get nausea due to intense headaches during the first night or when I wake up the next day. Happens at any significant mountain altitude (I live 50' above sea level), even 7,000' as you describe. After that first night/morning, I'm right as rain for the rest of the trip, regardless of duration or further altitude gain.

I'm still dialing in a 100% solution, but for me the improvements I've made are absolutely tied to hydration (have enough, sometimes crazy amounts) and nutrition (magnesium, potassium, electrolytes, esp. if drinking a ton) - a banana and salty snacks on day 1 are good, only going to electrolyte replacements help if it's really hot. Car-camping and day-hiking at altitude the day before sometimes helps, sometimes not. I never exceed 2mph on the first day. When the headaches come - the only gateway symptom - caffeine is the drug that always helps me. Excedrin Migraine and coffee in the morning, in conjunction with the right food and water, have always nipped it in the bud for me.

None of this may work for you. My symptoms sound easier to control and my nausea is always triggered by headaches, and I can usually manage to eat something. But just offering some food for thought to see if you can draw any parallels or get some new ideas.

Best of luck, man.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: altitude sickness? on 07/13/2008 10:07:01 MDT Print View

I'd agree that you may well be drinking too much water. It isn't just sodium, but rather a wide range of electrolyte loss you could be suffering. A drop in potassium can leave you nauseated,fatigued and mentally unclear.

So...do you eat when you drink? And what are you eating? You could be stripping yourself. Eat foods rich in vitamins and potassium - as well as having a steady, yet light touch of sodium. These will help regulate your water that you take in.

Btw, yes, weather can affect you - barometric pressure can play havoc at lower altitudes with your head. Migraine suffers can have triggers with weather changes that the eyes don't see. I have had altitude sickness a few times - and once was due to a storm rolling in about 12 hours away or so. Not everyone reacts this way, for me I can.

Lyan Jordan
(redmonk)

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
altitude sickness? on 07/13/2008 10:26:52 MDT Print View

To stop vomiting from electrolyte imbalances, I've found it helps to make a cup of NUUN (or similar), and take small sips every 5-10 minutes. I generally can't keep the first four or five sips down, so there is no point in chugging a whole mug.

michelle Annett
(andrewz) - F
Re: Hyponatremia? on 07/13/2008 11:17:53 MDT Print View

I never would have thought that it could have been a case were i drank to much water. Really shows how ignorant i am about the human body though. I am kind of speechless because now that i think about the trips were i have gotten really ill i do recall drinking a lot of water. I work outside as a job painting houses so i am used to drinking half a gallon to a gallon of water a day. I figured i should drink more than that backpacking since i would be exhorting myself even harder. After reading what you said about your girlfriend it sounds a lot like what happened to me. It was a 12 miles of agonizing pain just forcing my body to move without food after puking. My case did not seem as severe as your g/f and i am happy she was ok. Thanks for story and help.

michelle Annett
(andrewz) - F
Re: Re: hiking on 07/13/2008 11:18:56 MDT Print View

Roger,

thanks for you help also when i look at how much you drink, regardless if you drink a bit "less" than most people it still puts the picture it perspective when i am taking in 120-140 ounces.

michelle Annett
(andrewz) - F
Re: Re: altitude sickness? on 07/13/2008 11:22:57 MDT Print View

Nathan,

thank you for your concern about consulting forums, instead of a doctor and i know it could become a real problem if i don't figure it out and i end up really in danger on a mountain. I will be going on a couple more small backpacking trips before my 120 mile trip so i will be able to try all the advice you and everyone else has given me. I am not always sure if it stabilizes after day 1 because the last several trips i have been able to do has only been 1 night 2 day trips. I do feel fine after i get home and my hunger picks back up again. Thanks for some of the suggestions you do and i will try a variation to see if anything helps.

michelle Annett
(andrewz) - F
Re: Re: altitude sickness? on 07/13/2008 11:29:28 MDT Print View

Sarah,

After reading what every one has said about drinking to much water it made a lot of sense to me when i look at past trips. However i thought electrolyte wise i would be fine seeing as i had a E-mergency when i ate my food at night time which i would hope would restore it. However with how much i sweat and drank maybe it was not enough.

Here is what i ate

day 1
Breakfast - chicken noodle soup
snacks-
beef jerky
trial mix with star burst mixed in
dried fruit
snickers
lunch - top ramen
dinner- Mountain house Spaghetti with meatballs
1 E-mergency
Calorie intake 2900

All my days consisted of the same Snacks but different lunch or dinners.

michelle Annett
(andrewz) - F
Re: altitude sickness? on 07/13/2008 11:31:48 MDT Print View

Cameron,

I am not sure what NUUN is but i will look it up and try to find something similar to bring to try it out. Thanks for you help once again.



Thanks everyone who has helped me so far and i will be trying all your suggestions. I know its probably a mixture of problems starting from how much water i drink, to the food, and elevation i gain possibly.

ROBERT TANGEN
(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Altitude sickness? on 07/13/2008 13:25:26 MDT Print View

It's not as if you're eating pure sugar and water:
Breakfast - chicken noodle soup [SALTY]
snacks-beef jerky [SALTY]
trial mix with star burst mixed in
dried fruit
snickers
lunch - top ramen [SALTY FLAVOR PACKS]
dinner- Mountain house Spaghetti with meatballs [SALTY]
1 E-mergency [SALTY?]
I would bet you have congestive heart failure, combined with an inoperable brain tumor, plus COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), in addition to terminal acne. [JOKING! IT'S JUST A LITTLE JOKE TO CHEER YOU UP.]
However, you might try calling a free medical advice service, which a local hospital might have available.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: altitude sickness? on 07/13/2008 13:39:01 MDT Print View

140 ounces is 4.4 quarts, really not that much for a backpacking day. Most people I hike with probably drink around 4 quarts/day.

I think you need a full physical exam by your physician before you head out again. Tell him/her what you have experienced.

Edited by jshann on 07/13/2008 13:43:09 MDT.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: menu on 07/13/2008 14:16:04 MDT Print View

From looking at it, while you get plenty of sodium and protein you are not getting a lot of potassium. Kettle cooked natural potato chips, bananas, dark vegetables, etc would help bump it up.

An excess of sodium can leave one not feeling well on the opposite side.

michelle Annett
(andrewz) - F
Re: Re: menu on 07/13/2008 15:47:15 MDT Print View

Sarah do you think i should keep what i have for food so far, or as Robert said is it to salty? He said he was joking, but maybe i do need to change the menu some.

Also my 120 mile trip is in 3 weeks. Do a lot of you believe i really should get checked out by a docter. I was thinking this wasn't that big of a deal but what do i know.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Altitude sickness? on 07/13/2008 19:26:20 MDT Print View

Caution: I am not a medical practitioner!

There's a fair bit of salt in your menu, but whether it is too much is very hard to say. My wife and I barely use any salt at all, but we are used to a low-salt diet. But as noted by others, salt is hardly the only thing you need.

I am wondering about your breakfast and lunch. For the first day you are fine, but the second day you have problems. It isn't until the second day that you run out of 'home food'. I know that on the occasions when I have wanted to drink lots of water, my real problem was lack of blood sugar - energy. I could keep going, but I was not 100%. I was simply running out of energy. Readily solved by the application of food!

My breakfast is a large bowl of raw muesli: lots of everything, including a broad spectrum of carbohydrates. My lunch is also a lot more than a little bit of ramen noodles: a large quantity of carbo in the form of biscuits, butter, cheese (fats), jam&honey. I eat more when walking than when at home (funny about that).

I also know someone who was having a lot of trouble at the end of the day, even being nauseous. The doctor offered two choices: give up walking, or give up the vegetarian diet. The person's red blood cell count was very low, to the point of anaemia. I can see meat in your diet, but if the symptoms persist maybe you should have a blood check. I would put this as a lower probability than 'not enough food' though. More food is cheaper to test too!