mountain sickness

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Syn: altitude sickness. The cardiovascular, respiratory, and neural symptom complex that occurs when a person physiologically adjusted to life at or near sea level ascends rapidly to high altitude (2,500 meters or more). The symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting, breathlessness, and feelings of ill-defined distress. The cause is oxygen lack. If ascent to high altitude is gradual, cardiovascular adjustment and manufacture of red blood corpuscles to compensate for reduced oxygen transport lead to alleviation of symptoms after a few days.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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