How Diamox Deals With Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)

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How Diamox Deals With Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)

Category Acute Mountain Sickness Altitude and Health HAPE and HACE

By Arjun Majumdar

2010-08-08

Sometimes an unnecessary debate is on between purists and non-purists about acclimatization on a high altitude trek.

Acute Mountain Sickness

high altitude sickness

along with headache

A headache at an altitude is not normal

totally

Anyone can get AMS

90% of the blood’s carbon dioxide exists in a chemical called bicarbonate. This carbon dioxide after travelling through your blood is exhaled by your lungs. Diamox forces the kidneys to excrete bicarbonate from your body (when you urinate).

Your body doesn’t like that. It

needs

the bicarbonate to exhale carbon dioxide through your lungs.

When Diamox forces you to excrete biocarbonates, your blood, which is used to a certain level of acidity, becomes more acidic. When the blood gets acidic it believes that it has more carbon dioxide in it. So the body gets rid of this excess carbon dioxide in a simple way. It starts to breathe deeper and faster, getting rid of the carbon dioxide, and also taking in more oxygen.

In effect, the increased oxygen speeds up the acclimatisation process. It also greatly reduces you of any symptoms of altitude sickness. Which is why Diamox works best when you start on it a day or two before you get to high altitudes. 

It does not cure anything

no circumstances should you climb higher if your symptoms still persists

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Arjun Majumdar

Founder, CEO, Indiahikes

About the author

An entrepreneur by profession and a trekker by passion, Arjun started Indiahikes in 2008. With a vision to explore and document new trails, solve problems in the mountains and implement sustainable ways of trekking. Arjun leads Indiahikes, a community that has changed the face of trekking in India.