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Asthma And High Altitude Trekking

Annapurna base camp asthma abc trekking

A whole lot of trekkers write to us asking if they will trek with bronchial asthma. If they will, the place they need to go and the way they need to go about it. For those who’re certainly one of them, this text by Dr. Sreelakshmi T, is for you. Although she is a Trek Coordinator at Indiahikes, she is a professional MBBS physician and her ardour lies each in drugs and trekking. This has the whole lot you could know relating to trekking with bronchial asthma, what you want to remember, and a few helpful ideas.

Once I was in school eight and 9, the very throes of my school-days, I battled extreme bronchial asthma. I might discover it troublesome to run even 1 km with out getting extraordinarily in need of breath. In reality, I as soon as suffered an assault so extreme that my mother and father thought I might not survive.

Fortunately, as is widespread amongst individuals who endure from bronchial asthma as youngsters, my assaults decreased considerably once I entered my late teenagers. Not solely am I capable of comfortably run 10 km now, I additionally trek extensively on lengthy, robust terrains.

This yr, I accomplished the Annapurna Circuit Trek  in the course of the March-April season with out the assistance of an organisation. It was simply me, a couple of buddies and a backpack. And I didn’t even keep in mind that I had bronchial asthma.

Annapurna base camp asthma abc trekkingWith the correct quantity of preparation and warning, asthmatic trekkers can undertake longer treks just like the Annapurna Base Camp. Photograph taken by Chaitan Sharma.

In case you fear about trekking with an bronchial asthma situation, I’ll inform you how one can acknowledge signs, forestall them in your trek and put together higher for it.

Why Do You Get Asthma

Asthma is a standard, extended, inflammatory situation of the airways that join your nostril and higher respiratory system to your lungs. It generally begins in childhood, between the ages of three to five years. It may well both worsen or enhance throughout adolescence.

A number of the commonest triggers are widespread chilly, environmental triggers like pollen, animal hair, fur, atmospheric air pollution, irritant mud and fumes.  

The standard signs of bronchial asthma are wheezing, chest tightening, cough and typically, a extreme shortness of breath which will get worse at night time. You are feeling suffocated and unable to breathe, as if somebody is strangling you.

As a trekker, you might marvel if train can even set off bronchial asthma. In truth, there’s a separate type of bronchial asthma referred to as Train Induced Asthma.

Because the identify suggests, on this situation, strenuous train results in the narrowing of the airways within the lungs. The primary set off right here is dry or chilly air. Or each.

Typically, train that exposes you to chilly, dry air is extra more likely to trigger bronchial asthma signs than train involving heat and humid air. So, in case you are an asthmatic, keep away from exercising in very chilly or dry air, or in dusty polluted environments.

I have asthma. Can I do a high-altitude trek?”

Properly, that will depend on the severity of your bronchial asthma. It might both be delicate or extreme.

Delicate Asthma

Delicate or refractory bronchial asthma is when you’ve got occasional signs, or lower than two assaults per week. Usually, you’ll be able to handle this by taking brief appearing medicine to regulate the irritation. The most typical method of doing that is through the use of inhalers.

When you’ve got delicate bronchial asthma, you are able to do a excessive altitude trek. Be sure to talk about this together with your physician first and your bronchial asthma is underneath management. Attempt one thing alongside the strains of a Dayara Bugyal in the summertime season and see the way you fare on a 5 day trek.  Push it as much as one thing like Buran Ghati afterwards – however ensure you take your drugs with you. Campsites like Dayara and Dhunda can get too chilly; which will trigger asthmatic signs.

Dayara Bugyal is a 6 day lengthy easy-moderate trek. It’s a good introductory trek for mildly asthmatic individuals. Image by Harikrishnan.

Extreme Asthma

Extreme bronchial asthma is when you’ve greater than two assaults per week. To deal with this, you need to go on an extended course of medicine. These medicine are used together with inhaled steroids to regulate irritation.

You possibly can nonetheless trek with extreme bronchial asthma, however with the proper precautions. It is advisable to get a certificates of clearance out of your physician, to make sure that your signs are underneath management with medicine. Additionally, you will have to comply with a superb health routine to be properly ready for the trek. Attempt a smaller trek at first – Deoban Weekend trek ought to do high-quality in winters (be careful for the chilly within the campsite!) and in summers, think about 4 day treks like Beas Kund and Bhrigu Lake. Whenever you see your self doing nicely on these brief treks, attempt one thing longer – a Har Ki Dun or perhaps even a Hampta Move.

Deoban weekend trekIn case you are new to trekking, you’ll be able to start with a brief 2 day weekend trek to check how your bronchial asthma will fare in trekking circumstances. The Deoban trek is an effective one to start out with. Photograph by Tanmay Bain.

Extreme Uncontrolled Asthma

Extreme uncontrolled bronchial asthma is the place you have got a number of assaults per week. This makes you vulnerable to Standing Asthmaticus. When this occurs, you get assaults one after the opposite, with no pause. These assaults are extreme and acute and aren’t aware of medicine.

Because the signs worsen, you expertise breathlessness and cough (typically worse at night time). In truth, breathlessness could also be so extreme that it’s inconceivable to talk various phrases (lack of ability to finish sentences). It often requires hospitalisation. It may be life threatening if you don’t begin remedy and obtain life saving injections immediately.

I might advise you to not trek in case you have extreme uncontrolled bronchial asthma.

How Does High Altitude Trekking Have an effect on Asthma

Research on the have an effect on of excessive altitude on bronchial asthma have had various outcomes.

Some sufferers demonstrated profound modifications of their immune system with decreased inflammatory exercise to an extent that they might even minimize down on their drugs dosage. Then again, not all individuals confirmed such enhancements and have been susceptible to bronchial asthma assaults. 

It’s already recognized information that publicity to chilly climate and skinny air with much less oxygen can set off bronchial asthma. Along with this, all research, even those that present enchancment of asthmatic circumstances at greater altitudes, record these further triggers to be careful for:

– Higher respiratory infections – even one thing as primary because the widespread chilly (quite common in excessive altitudes)

– Unknown allergens

– Train induced bronchial asthma

Abi Phor_Rupin Pass_ Snow field before reaching the pass_Take additional warning when trekking in snow or chilly climate. Chilly could be an bronchial asthma set off so it is extremely essential to maintain your physique heat. Image taken by Abi Phor on the Rupin Cross trek.

What You Ought to Do If You Are Trekking With Asthma

1. In case you are asthmatic and considering of happening a excessive altitude trek, be sure to get a clearance out of your physician first.

2. Know the severity of your bronchial asthma. Don’t try advance degree treks or treks with out good connectivity and infrastructure when you have extreme bronchial asthma.

three. Whereas getting ready for the trek, introduce operating and cardio train into your health routine to extend your lung capability. Over time, this helps with train induced bronchial asthma and builds immunity.

four. Carry all of your treatment alongside and perceive what often triggers your assaults so you understand how to cope with that specific set off.

5. Figuring out your bronchial asthma triggers will enable you to higher put together for the trek and keep away from an assault whereas trekking.

6. Attain the bottom camp a few days early to acclimatise. Correct acclimatisation will assist your physique put together nicely in your ascent.

7.  Inform your Trek Chief about your situation and your basic set off as quickly as you attain the bottom camp.

eight.  Hydrate your self frequently. This prevents the drying of your throat and helps in discount in incidence of higher respiratory tract an infection (URTI).

At Indiahikes, we feature oxygen cylinders on all our treks and it’s with trek leaders and at campsites.  Our trek Leaders additionally carry oximeters checks each day so we will spot instantly if one thing is barely incorrect.

I’ll conclude this text with some Ceaselessly Requested Questions:

1. Does maintaining heat on a regular basis assist keep away from assaults?

Sure this may assist. It’s because, chilly climate makes asthmatics extra susceptible to assaults. Retaining heat would make it easier to forestall higher respiratory infections as nicely. Particularly if chilly is one among your triggers.

2. Is it okay to take Diamox when I’ve bronchial asthma?

Diamox and bronchial asthma medicine have totally different mechanisms of motion. There isn’t a contraindication to taking Diamox in case you are an asthmatic.

three. Are bronchial asthma sufferers extra vulnerable to AMS?

There isn’t any actual document that connects AMS instances to bronchial asthma. 

In case you are an bronchial asthma affected person, and have trekked at excessive altitudes, please drop in a remark under about your expertise. We might love to listen to about it and study out of your expertise! Additionally, when you’ve got a respiration drawback and AMS, you would drop in a remark and volunteer for a case research.


1) Analysis displaying enchancment of bronchial asthma signs and lung perform at excessive altitudes as a consequence of modifications within the immune system –

2) Analysis displaying that after one month at excessive altitude, a discount in airways irritation happens in youngsters –

three) Outcomes suggesting that touring to excessive and excessive altitudes is protected for sufferers with delicate bronchial asthma –


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