Acute mountain sickness: Symptoms & Signs, Diagnosis & Tests

Symptoms & Signs

Symptoms generally associated with mild to moderate altitude illness include:

* Difficulty sleeping
* Dizziness or light-headedness
* Fatigue
* Headache
* Loss of appetite
* Nausea or vomiting
* Rapid pulse (heart rate)
* Shortness of breath with exertion

Symptoms generally associated with more severe altitude illness include:

* Bluish discoloration of the skin (cyanosis)
* Chest tightness or congestion
* Confusion
* Cough
* Coughing up blood
* Decreased consciousness or withdrawal from social interaction
* Gray or pale complexion
* Inability to walk in a straight line, or to walk at all
* Shortness of breath at rest

Diagnosis & Tests

Listening to the chest with a stethoscope (auscultation) reveals sounds called crackles (rales) in the lung, which can mean pulmonary edema.

A chest x-ray may be performed.

Acute mountain sickness: Overview, Causes

Acute mountain sickness: Symptoms & Signs, Diagnosis & Tests

Acute mountain sickness: Treatment

Review Date : 1/15/2009
Reviewed By : Jacob L. Heller, MD, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, Clinic. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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