Has anyone been to Denver, Colorado or any other high altitude destination?

I am going to Denver on holiday in 2 weeks, well actually to the mountains above Denver, circa 7800 feet i think. I am visiting a school friend and she has told me that ""lots"" of people who go there suffer from altitude sickness. At first I thought she was joking but apparently not. It has started me thinking would it affect my asthma as the air is ""thinner"". I am usually well controlled but recently i have been struggling a bit as i have had 2 colds one after another. I am currently on steroids 2 puffs am and pm for at least 2 months. Ventolin is being used much less as a result.

Does anyone have any experience of high altitude? Was your asthma affected or am i worrying about nothing?!

7 Replies

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  • friend

    what a nice place to go.Book in with your gp,he/her will tell you what to do.make sure youve taken your E1 11,and have insurance cover for asthma .have a great time,love Glynis xxx

  • Hey,

    It's not uber high, but I went skiing in New Zealand, and it was pretty high up. The only thing I found that really affected me was the cold. I had to go and buy like a mouth shield thing that cost me about $20 but was a fantastic buy. Maybe speak to your GP before you go and see what they say.

    Have fun though xx

  • Hi,

    I've been to Denver a few times, and up in the mountains once. I have a heart condition, so I think that is usually a larger issue with altitude. That said I did get a little bit altitude sick, so no your friend wasn't joking. It's really beautiful though. If I were going again I would bring good allergy meds, because I was in the wilderness, and drinking a lot of water helps your body adjust (including gatorade). It's because your blood would make more red blood cells if you staid there for a longer period of time. Good luck!

    Bee

  • I recently climbed Mount Toubkal which is something over 4,000 metres high and I had altitude sickness at 4,000 metres and was using my inhaler fairly frequently after 3,000. I'm not sure what that is in feet though!

    If you're worried about the effects altitude can have you could give the Adviceline a call.

  • I visit friends who live in Denver very regularly and frequently head up to the mountains with them. I have to say that I've never noticed any kind of altitude sickness symptoms. I often find my PF is a little lower for the first couple of days there, but after that, all's back to normal.

    The air is dry compared to much of the UK and that may well affect you depending on how you respond to humidity. You may also find you need/want to drink lots.

    That aside, I can't foresee you having any problems - and you'll undoubtedly fall in love with Colorado. Enjoy your trip!

  • I'm from Colorado (home is at 7000 ft) and a recent transplant to the UK.

    Yes, there is altitude sickness. Asthma doesn't mean you will necessarily get it. Healthy (non-asthmatic people) get it as well. But it can be prevented. Be sure to take things slow. It will take more effort to do things. Don't expect to walk as fast as you can at sea level. Drink LOTS of water--the air is dry. Don't go up a 14er on your first day. Because the air is dry, you might have to double your water consumption. Carbonated, caffeinated or alcoholic beverages should be avoided if you are worried about altitude sickness, at least for the first few days. But remember you will still need to drink more water still. You will probably be tired the first few days as you will be taking more breathes. As for asthma, depending on what your triggers are you might find it easier or harder. I find my asthma easier to control there because the air is drier and not as mouldy. However, keep up your standard procedures. Get help if you need it. They've seen it before--especially in the mountains. If you feel like you need oxygen, get it. Enjoy your holiday. The mountains are beautiful.

  • There's lots of research to suggest that asthmatics cope better at altitude because there are less allergens. I was skeptical about this, but (at 3500m +) I coped surprisingly well. I found that I was breathing faster than normal, but the actual effort of breathing was much less - I loved it! The chances of altitude sickness can be reduced by taking it easy for the first few days to acclimatise. altitude.org is a good site, but don't let it freak you out - HAPE and HACE generally occur higher than 7800 feet (2300m). The biggest thing you need to be aware of is that if you had a severe attack, there is less oxygen in the air, and so your sats could suffer a lot more - so you should seek emergency treatment quicker. If you are still worried, you could talk to a doctor about taking Diamox, but that would normally be given to people going to higher altitudes.

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