What is Altitude Sickness or Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)?
It is Caused By A Decrease In Oxygen Levels at High Altitudes in Colorado
Chart below shows the amount of oxygen at altitude – note how it decreases as you go up in altitude:
Your body responds in several ways to an increase in altitude – typically within 6 hours of arrival to the Colorado Rocky Mountains:
Everyone who comes from a low elevation to high altitude will experience these physiological changes. However, if you ascend in elevation too quickly, the body can get overloaded, and you can feel very sick. Altitude sickness feels like a bad hangover or a case of the flu without the sore throat or cough. If you are not sure what is making you feel bad it’s most likely altitude sickness.
Extreme cases of altitude sickness can cause fluid buildup in either the brain as High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) —or in the lungs as: High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE). HACE and HAPE are very dangerous conditions, and can be fatal. If anyone in your party has difficulty keeping their balance, is staggering, has a cough and has decreased exercise ability – Seek emergency medical attention immediately.