altitude sickness

GC: n

S: NHS – (last access: 30 October 2022); WebMD – (last access: 30 October 2022).

N: 1. – altitude (n): late 14c., “elevation above the horizon” (of stars, planets), from Latin altitudinem (nominative altitudo) “height, altitude,” from altus “high” (literally “grown tall,” from PIE root *al- (2) “to grow, nourish”). The general sense of “space upward, height, vertical extent” is from early 15c. Related: Altitudinal; altitudinous.
– sickness (n): “state of being sick or suffering from a disease,” Middle English siknesse, from Old English seocnes “sickness, disease; a particular malady;” see sick (adj.) and -ness. It formerly was synonymous with illness; in late 19c. sickness began to be restricted to nausea and other disturbances of the stomach, leaving illness as “a rather more elegant and less definite term” [Century Dictionary].

2. altitude sickness, also called mountain sickness, acute reaction to a change from sea level or other low-altitude environments to altitudes above 8,000 feet (2,400 metres). Altitude sickness was recognized as early as the 16th century. In 1878 French physiologist Paul Bert demonstrated that the symptoms of altitude sickness are the result of a deficiency of oxygen in the tissues of the body. Mountain climbers, pilots, and persons living at high altitudes are the most likely to be affected.

3. The symptoms of acute altitude sickness fall into four main categories: (1) respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath upon exertion, and deeper and more rapid breathing; (2) mental or muscular symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, dizziness, lassitude, headache, sleeplessness, decreased mental acuity, decreased muscular coordination, and impaired sight and hearing; (3) cardiac symptoms such as pain in the chest, palpitations, and irregular heartbeat; and (4) gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. The symptoms usually occur within six hours to four days after arrival at high altitude and disappear within two to five days as acclimatization occurs. Although most people gradually recover as they adapt to the low atmospheric pressure of high altitude, some persons experience a reaction that can be severe and, unless they return to low altitude, possibly fatal.

4. This syndrome of giddiness, nausea, dyspnea, headache, thirst, malaise, and sometimes a slight elevation of temperature results from reduced oxygen intake in the presence of reduced atmospheric pressure in those ascending in planes, climbing mountains, or ascending to great heights.
Above 3 500 meters, hypoxia may affect the nervous system on initial exposure and altitude sickness may occur.

5. Initially the term mountain sickness was used to denote any physical or mental incapacity that occurred as a result of ascending to high altitude.

6. For us that sit low in the altitude saddle, areas of high altitude can tremendously effect our bodies. There is nothing worse than a pounding headache, shortness of breath, nausea, fatigue, and heart palpitations. Unfortunately, these are all symptoms of altitude sickness. Altitude sickness can happen when you are in an airplane or when you are in a geographical area of high altitude.

7. Altitude illness is the result of traveling to a higher altitude faster than the body can adapt to that new altitude. Fluid leakage from blood vessels appears to be the main cause of symptoms. Altitude illness is divided into three syndromes: acute mountain sickness (AMS), high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE), and high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE).

8. Cultural Interrelation: We can mention the book Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster written by Jon Krakauer in 1997.

S: 1. OED – (last access: 30 October 2022). 2&3. EncBrit – (last access: 30 October 2022). 4&5. GDT – (last access: 30 October 2022). 6&7. TERMIUM PLUS – (last access: 30 October 2022). 8. GR – (last access: 30 October 2022).

SYN: 1. high-altitude sickness, high-altitude illness, altitude illness, altitude disease, Acosta disease, soroche. 2. mountain sickness, height sickness. (depending on context)

S: 1. TERMIUM PLUS – (last access: 30 October 2022). 2. GDT – (last access: 30 October 2022).

CR: disease, syndrome.