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High Altitudes and Dehydration

High Altitudes and DehydrationAltitude sickness or “Acute mountain sickness” is a result of fatigue, dehydration and low oxygen levels. Just being at high altitude causes you to lose far more fluids than at lower elevations, more than a quart a day just from breathing. When you’re dehydrated, exercise makes you tired more quickly; real tiredness, not just being short of breath. Dehydration compounded by the low vapor pressure of oxygen results in changes in the blood chemistry, making it more acidic and harder to absorb what oxygen is available.

The afflicted person begins with classic symptoms of dehydration: Muddled thinking, irritability and fatigue. Additionally malaise, nausea, and headache at the base of the skull, tight shoulder and neck muscles follow if not relieved by descending to lower elevations or rehydrating with an electolyte replacement drink. Pleural or cerebral edema (Fluid accumulation in the lungs or brain) can result as dehydration progresses and the situation becomes life-threatening. Shortly after Vitalyte was developed, we received a letter from a runner who each summer spent his two-week vacation backpacking in the Sierras. Every year, after the first day, he would have a splitting headache and malaise, no appetite, and feeling lousy and nauseous. He figured that this occurred at high altitudes. Then one summer he took some Vitalyte with him. He drank at least a quart every day, and had none of the usual symptoms; no headache, no malaise, no nausea, and he covered longer distances than ever before. That is until he ran out of Vitalyte with a day and a half to go and had to get by with just water. When he finally made it back to his car, he shucked off his backpack; leaned against the car to unlock it, wondering how on earth he was ever going to be able to drive four hours back home. He got out a packet of Vitlayte, sat on the ground and made a quart. After drinking the full quart (“It was gone before I realized it!”), he became aware that his headache was going away and he was hungry. He wolfed down a sandwich, mixed up another quart of Vitalyte, and headed home, feeling normal again.

High Altitudes and DehydrationMountaineering expeditions have reported that Vitalyte keeps them going even above 20,000 feet, with “no muscle cramps or altitude sickness and less fatigue even with 100-lb packs.” One member of the 1984 American Medical Expedition to Mount Everest had to reconcile himself to the fact that he would never even get to base camp because he usually suffered from altitude sickness between 12,000 and 14,000 feet and once had to be evacuated with cerebral edema. One day he realized that he was helping set up ladders across crevasses 2,000 feet above base camp ... without even the slightest symptoms of altitude sickness. He made sure that he drank plenty of Vitalyte and finally backed off at 20,000 feet, the highest he had ever climbed by over 4,000 feet! Others who began to exhibit symptoms of a.m.s. were promptly “dosed” with Vitalyte and all recovered quickly.

Avoid altitude sickness and dehydration so you can enjoy your outdoor activities more; stay hydrated with VITALYTE!

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