British Lung Foundation
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Holidaying and altitude

Hi folks .. I have COPD and also Heart problems . Next year I am holidaying on Tenerife . One of the things I would like to do is go up Mt Tiede which is nearly 4000 meters high. ( not climbing. going by coach and cable car :) ) I have doupts about the effect of altitude , has anybody else done this kind of thing. could there be problems due to lack of Oxygen ?

6 Replies

Just hope that the plane goes higher than 4000 meters high.

If you are fit to fly etc. so ask your doc is best if you have doubts.

Make sure you have got genuine insurance with existing conditions


(Prior to COPD) I went up Mt Tiede first by cable car then walking the final stage, as soon as you leave the cable car and start walking up to the top its gives you a feeling of getting drunk. The higher you walk the more light headed and drunk you feel! Not a nice feeling!!!!

Having been living with COPD for a few years now I know I wouldn't attempt the journey again. The air is extremely thin and low oxygen. Having said all this we only live once and if you feel you are able to do it then have a go. Good luck and hope you enjoy Tenerife.


I lived in Tenerife for a couple of years back in my younger wilder days................memories......

It gets very cold up there too so remember to wrap up warm. Good advice to ask a medical professional...............if you get the go ahead I know you will enjoy it but you know what.....I never went up in the cable car. Probably due to too many times actually being drunk and light headed!

Hope it works out for you hun


My advice would be to go up as far as the cable car and not do the walk to the top.I did cos I am stubborn and everyone else was walking to the top.You are warned also not to attempt the walk if you have heart or breathing problems.When I did it I could walk about 3 steps and then have to stop as my chest was so tight I could not breathe.Also at the top it was belching out yellow sulphur which added to my problems.Even when I got down and into the cable car I still couldnt breathe and then - the cable car broke down half wat into the journey.It took 20 mins to fix and the air was so cold I really thought I was going to die.I was determined todo it and did it but never again. Hope it is OK for you.


Thank you all for your responses :) I've decided to not go up Tiede. Not only for myself. This holiday is for my wife to.I know she would be worrying for me . She does enough for me already without ruining her holidat too . Thanks again for your comments


Hi there - I tried to respond earlier but somehow my message didn't save. I have ILD and have to use oxygen. I holidayed in Tenerfie last year with my family and we went up mount Teide. At that point I was using 2 litres per minute. I had a pulse oximeter so was able to monitor my oxygen sats. I too was dertermined to try and walk from the cable car up a bit further. My sats used to hover around 94-96% with 2 lp however when I walked at the top of the mountain it dropped to mid 70s even after increasing my flow rate to 4 lp! My husband who doesn't have a lung condition checked his sats and they were down to mid to low 90s so the altitude affects everyone! I decided to not walk any further and waited whilst my husband and son walked a bit further. If you wanted to go you can get a great view from the top of the cable car - but would suggest not walking any further up!


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