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Author Topic: High altitudes  (Read 1417 times)


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High altitudes
« on: March 26, 2016, 09:50:06 PM »
Planning 4 wheeler trip to burgess junction wy, problem brother afraid asthma might affect him at the 8000 ft. For a week. Any advice or experience with that? Thanks

Larry N.

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Re: High altitudes
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2016, 07:42:08 AM »
Altitude, in and of itself, doesn't cause asthma. I can't comment on whether that area of Wyoming has the stuff that causes the asthma in your brother, but you can do some checks online for many areas. Time of the year affects it, too.

Getting accustomed to the altitude can be a problem for some people, and it's a typically dry country, meaning you need to make a strong effort to keep hydrated (drink lots of water, whether you're thirsty or not) to minimize the chances of altitude sickness, especially at the higher elevations. It also takes a while (at least a week, often two or more) to become completely accustomed to the altitude, so don't overdo your exertions.

One other note: Non-turbocharged engines lose some of their power with altitude; at 8000 it might be as much as 25%-30% loss, depending on temperature and other factors, so be aware that it might not pull as hard as you're used to. Thankfully, though, today's fuel injected engines aren't hit quite as badly as the older carbureted engines.
Larry and Mary Ann N.
2016 Newmar Ventana 3709 -ISB6.7 XT 360HP
2015 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited toad
Formerly: Trailmanor 2720SL, Bounder, Beaver
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: High altitudes
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2016, 10:13:30 AM »
It's very dry, and the oxygen content of the air is lower, which means the body needs to pump more air to get enough O2.  Whether that affects his ability to function is hard to say. If it's bad enough his breathing is marginal at sea level, then probably yes. He will wheeze more, trying to get enough air into his lungs to get the oxygen needed.  If the asthma only bothers him at times, maybe not. Many people have fewer problems in dry climates, so that could actually be a plus.

Also, the term "Asthma" tends to be used rather loosely by laymen, covering a variety of breathing problems. Maybe what he really has is reduced lung function, in which case high altitude is very likely to be an issue. I don't think anybody here can give useful medical opinion on that. Or anything else, for that matter.
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL


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Re: High altitudes
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2016, 11:16:14 AM »
Just curious, does your brother already suffer with asthma? Does he take medications for it?

As a lifelong (medically diagnosed) asthma sufferer, I'm familiar with most of the triggers for the different asthma conditions. I speak from cause-and-effect observations, supplemented by copious amounts of reading on the subject and, of course, lots of discussions with physicians and asthma specialists. Geographic location and local conditions (what Larry calls "stuff") can have significant effects for some folks.

We've spent several months in WY, but at 6,000 feet, not the 8,000 feet of Burgess Junction. Speaking personally, altitude alone doesn't trigger asthma, nor does dry air per se. But cold dry air does, as does physical activity; Combining those two has (for me) a guaranteed immediate effect.

Larry gives good advice on staying hydrated, something we always warn visitors from "cool/wet" climates. They don't always heed the advice, and occasionally the paramedics are called.

Meanwhile, your brother might benefit from a discussion with his doctor.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2016, 10:10:38 PM by Tom »
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