Although a trip to high altitude is a must for those who love travelling and adventure sports, these trips for people with medical conditions can prove to be a problem. This is true with patients having migraine, since climbing to higher altitudes can cause the symptoms of migraine to intensify.
Although travelling to high altitudes is not the best choice, the right medicines combined with self-help remedies and certain precautions will allow patients with migraine to travel to higher altitudes.
What is Migraine?
Migraine is a neurological condition that can cause multiple symptoms in the patient. It is specified by intense and impairing headaches. It can be diagnosed by the patient’ clinical history, reported symptoms and by ruling out other cases of headache.
Migraine attacks can cause significant pain, lasting from hours to days. Such attacks can also be so severe that the pain can be immobilizing. Medications can help prevent some migraine headaches and make them less painful.
What are the symptoms of Migraine?
Migraines are different from other headaches. Migraine mostly runs in families and can affect people of all ages. Women however, are prone to more migraines than men.
Some symptoms of migraine may include the following:
- Pain on one or both sides of your head.
- Difficulty speaking.
- Fatigue or low energy.
- Numbness or tingling.
- Sensitivity to light and sound.
- Neck stiffness.
- Blurred Vision.
Effects of high altitude on Migraine
Although headaches may be common in people who are usually exposed to high altitude, living or staying at high altitudes for a long period of time has shown to increase not only the occurrence of migraine, but also the indications of symptom severity.
High altitude has a migraine aggravating effect. It can increase the frequency, duration, and intensity of migraine attacks. It is a risk factor for the development of migrainous headache. So spending a lot of time in high altitude areas can cause the development of migrainous headache.
Ways to avoid Migraine at high altitude
While there are no immediate preventions for migraines even at high altitudes, there are ways to reduce or eliminate the risk factors of migraine.
The following are some ways to avoid migraine at high altitudes:
1. Slow Ascension
Ascend slowly, allowing your body at least two days to adapt to the environment. Plan to camp at a lower altitude than your maximum altitude for the night. Wait a day before you decide to ascend again.
2. Hydrate yourself constantly
It is important that you stay hydrated even while carrying out your daily activities. But to prevent migraines at high altitudes, constantly making sure that you are hydrated is crucial. Make sure you drink at least 2 litres of water a day to stay properly hydrated.
3. Refrain from exerting yourself
If you have to take part in strenuous physical activity while at high altitudes, then it is better for you to wait a day or two to adjust to the environment before partaking in such activities.
4. Avoid other migraine triggers
Light is an example of a migraine trigger. To avoid sensitivity to light at high altitudes, wear high quality sunglasses that block UV rays. This is especially important if you are travelling to a snowy region, since snow reflects 75% of the sunlight that falls on it.
Are you Planning on Travelling to High Altitudes?
If yes, make sure you make a stop at Swacon International Hospital for proper consultation on the four components of Travel Medicine, including Mountain Medicine.
Our team of medical experts have extensive experience with Mountain Medicine and Travel Medicine, and can provide you with the professional care and treatment that you need.
Health for All