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How high can hurt my brain

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How high can hurt my brain

Postby neghafi » Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:39 am

Hi everybody
I live in a city with average height of 1400m above the sea level. Here peaks are not higher than 5700m above the sea and I climb them in a day or two. I've got Mountain Sickness before. I remember many times when I wanted to stay at 4000m for a night, I'd got an easy headache, and sometimes it'd got to AMS. Now a day I feel good with no headache or such, I thought it's OK. but recently I saw a film: Everest: The Death Zone
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Now I'm completely convinced that Hypoxia can hurt my brain before the AMS begin, and my question is what is the approximate height that hypoxia may begin? What is the sign? (for example easy headaches?)

Any guide-lines? clues or comments?
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Re: How high can hurt my brain

Postby radson » Sun Dec 12, 2010 1:19 pm

Hi neghafi. AMS is the result of the body adjusting to an overly rapid immersion to a hypoxic environment. In other words AMS is just a term to describe the symptoms that happen to the body as the result of being in a hypoxic environment ( varies between people but generally can happen above 2,500 m). I, like yourself often get symptoms at 4,000m. A headache in the absence of other factors such as heat exhaustion, dehydration, hyperglycemia etc is considered often as one of the first signs of AMS.
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Re: How high can hurt my brain

Postby The Chief » Sun Dec 12, 2010 1:25 pm

Depends on what you are smoking....

On a serious note, here is a very good read that may help:
Going higher: oxygen, man, and mountains
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Last edited by The Chief on Sun Dec 12, 2010 1:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How high can hurt my brain

Postby neghafi » Sun Dec 12, 2010 1:33 pm

Yes I know, AMS is a beginning of extreme hypoxia and it surely hit the brain. But I thought lower level of hypoxia may also hurt (a bit).
if yes, then where is the boundary between hurting and not, and what is the signs?
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Re: How high can hurt my brain

Postby radson » Mon Dec 13, 2010 8:02 am

No, AMS is not necessarily from extreme hypoxia, it is from the body attempting to adjust to hypoxic stress. AMS is just the name that helps group together the symptoms of the bodies adjustment to hypoxia. It can range from a small temporary headache to something much more serious.

As for boundaries, I don't believe there is a boundary, more of a sliding scale. As an example perhaps. 1 being perfect, health, 2, slight headache....until ,9 HACE, 10, death.
http://www.ismmed.org/np_altitude_tutorial.htm
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Re: How high can hurt my brain

Postby JJBrunner » Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:39 am

The Chief wrote:Depends on what you are smoking....

On a serious note, here is a very good read that may help:
Going higher: oxygen, man, and mountains
Image

I've had that book for awhile now but always give myself an excuse to read something else that requires less thinking!
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Re: How high can hurt my brain

Postby neghafi » Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:34 pm

radson wrote:No, AMS is not necessarily from extreme hypoxia, it is from the body attempting to adjust to hypoxic stress. AMS is just the name that helps group together the symptoms of the bodies adjustment to hypoxia. It can range from a small temporary headache to something much more serious.

As for boundaries, I don't believe there is a boundary, more of a sliding scale. As an example perhaps. 1 being perfect, health, 2, slight headache....until ,9 HACE, 10, death.
http://www.ismmed.org/np_altitude_tutorial.htm


Sorry I didn't get what exactly you meant. Does small headaches hurt the brain.
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Re: How high can hurt my brain

Postby radson » Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:37 pm

I guess you mean more along the lines of permanently damage the brain rather than hurt the brain. Here is an interesting article.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=brain-cells-into-thin-air
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Re: How high can hurt my brain

Postby jsype » Wed Dec 15, 2010 4:34 am

Nice link and nice read, radson
Funny, just asked my wife if I seemed less intelligent after coming back from Aconcagua in '06. She gave me a quizzical look; my eight year old son said "kind of..."
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Re: How high can hurt my brain

Postby neghafi » Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:51 am

Thanks radson. in fact I'd read it before and even translated it to persian in my weblog. I knew even height of the Alps can damage the brain but what's the signs? in this paper it's mentioned even those who didn't got AMS got brain shrinkage and they didn't know. at the end of the paper, it also clearly told that mountaineers are paying the price with los of their brain cells. So based on this paper I'd think any climbing can damage my brain with no signs! is it right?
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Re: How high can hurt my brain

Postby DersuUzala » Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:10 pm

I'm at sea-level and my brain hurts!
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You've gotta be crazy to be sane
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