How to Deal with High Altitude and Acclimatize in Leh Ladakh?

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Leh is one of the most beautiful places in India blessed with the backdrop of high mountain peaks and the valleys, high passes, lakes etc. Although a number of travellers visit Ladakh for an adventure tour, there are some precautions that need to be taken care while you are on the land of high passes.

Located at a height of 10,000 feet Ladakh is not an easy destination to explore as it looks. The deserted terra firma and the undefined path make travelling in Ladakh a great task. With low oxygen pressure and obscure climate, there are chances of suffering from AMS. Most of the places in Ladakh are nestled at a certain height adding on the difficulty in breathing and sustaining normal health. Dizziness, headache, nausea and breathlessness are the common symptom you may experience due to ASM or Acute Mountain Sickness during your Ladakh tour.

leh palace ladakh - ladakh trip
leh palace ladakh – ladakh trip

The mountain sickness can generally be treated with proper rest and sufficient diet but there are cases when the symptom gets worse resulting in immediate departure or hospitalization. There are attractions like Pangong Lake and the Tso Moriri Lake that falls at a great height that one can avoid if your body finds it difficult to acclimatize with the environment. Here are the tips and precautions that can help you with the high altitude while you are out for your Ladakh tour package.

Why you need to Acclimatize?

Acclimatizing is basically dealing with the new atmosphere and the climate and to avoid difficulty in travelling further. The dense air, high altitude and extreme weather condition make Ladakh different from the rest of the hill station in North India. All your Leh Ladakh tour packages are planned with a day or two-night halt in the region with low altitude as compared to the rest of the attraction in Ladakh. Let’s first understood what AMS is. As oxygen level decreases with raised altitude, one may find it difficult to breathe at a certain height. Low oxygen and breathlessness are the major cause of nausea and dizziness that can be referred to as ASM.

Acclimatization is necessary for Leh as it is situated at a height of 35000 m above sea level. Generally, people start encountering the effect of low oxygen and high latitude after 3000 m and the effect may vary with the age, body type, sex and physical fitness. When your body reaches a certain height, the low air pressure can cause leakage from capillaries in the brain and lungs. There can be serious health problems if you continue to travel higher without proper rest resulting in brain damage or even death. The Ladakh trip is generally easy and safe if you plan with proper consultation.

Type of AMS

The mountain sickness can vary with person to person and from height to height. You need to be aware of your symptoms for proper medication and a quick remedy to avoid any possible harm.

Mild AMS normally occur at a height of 3000- 3500 meters where you will feel mild headache or dizziness. Loss of appetite and Nausea with a short breath is the common symptom that you can experience after 6 to 24 hour of your arrival. The moderate symptoms are similar to the Mild AMS but if the symptom increases with time like severe headache and weakness, you must consult the doctor.

Severe AMS usually can occur when you arrive at a height more than 3500 meters on your Ladakh adventure tour. Any difficulty in walking or breathlessness, an effect on mental status is the major symptom of severe AMS. Immediately descend back to the lower region and visit the doctor for further treatment.

The High Altitude Cerebral Oedema is the server condition that needs immediate hospitalization. No one has ever experienced such condition but if you feel chest tightness or persistent cough with white discharge and suffocation with fatigue, you need emergency treatment.

High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema happens in the very rare case when proper oxygen couldn’t reach the body or your bloodstreams. Hallucinations or Disorientation, cyanosis and Coma are the effects of HAPO on the human body.

Precautions for AMS

  • Your complete check-up is necessary before planning the amazing Ladakh holidays. Asthmatic and patients with high blood pressure must avoid travelling to Leh or consult their doctors with complete medication.
  •  Travelling via flight, your body needs proper rest and sleep before you can start your tour. As soon as you land, arrive at your hotel and spend a day or two to adapt to the high altitude atmosphere. If you are travelling via road, make sure you have a night halt to avoid exertion. On way from Manali, you can rest at Jispa, or plan your overnight stay at Kargil for Ladakh with Kashmir tour.
  • Proper hydration and sufficient diet will reduce the symptom and help you travel easily at the high passes. Don’t overeat and avoid anti-depressants and alcohol.
  • Plan your itinerary smartly, not spending more time at high altitude areas. The Changthang, Tanglang La, Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri are the region that lies at the highest point in Ladakh. Explore the attraction in day time and get back to a comfy region for an overnight stay.
  • Gradually increase your altitude to experience the best Leh Ladakh tour and get back to an area of low altitude if you find it difficult to survive in regions with low air pressure.
  • Overeating, excess hydration or exertion may worsen the health condition resulting in seizures, hyponatremia, vomiting or coma and weakness.
  • Pack sufficient warm clothes and an extra pair of socks, gloves with waterproof boots and raincoat to keep your body warm and dry in the low climatic conditions.
  • Carry all the medicines and necessary aid with you that can help in case of emergency. There are some medicines as Diamox or Disprin and Aspirin that can help your body to breathe and carry more oxygen making it easy to acclimatize during Leh Ladakh tour package.

Author: ladakhtrip

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