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High risk of acute mountain sickness on Mount Kilimanjaro

Discusssed in High Altitude Medicine & Biology

Climbers of high peaks such as Mount Kilimanjaro are at high risk for Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Trekkers should not ignore AMS warning signs, which can progress to more serious medical outcomes.

Mountain climbers can best minimize their risk for altitude sickness by becoming acclimatized to increased altitudes before an ascent, according to a study in the current issue of High Altitude Medicine & Biology, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. ( The article is available free online at

The study, entitled "Incidence and predictors of acute mountain sickness among trekkers on Mount Kilimanjaro," evaluated the incidence of AMS among trekkers of this popular climbing destination. Stewart Jackson, J. Kenneth Baillie, and colleagues from University of Edinburgh (Scotland) and Muhimbili University College of Health Science (Tanzania), compared the effects of three increasingly difficult and rapid ascent routes, the option of a single rest day during the climb, and use by a sub-group of climbers of prophylactic acetazolamide.

The authors reported a similar rate of AMS among climbers with or without prophylactic drug use. Furthermore, a mid-climb rest day did not affect the incidence of AMS. Only prior acclimatization to increased altitude offered a significant protective effect against AMS.

"This important article emphasizes the dangers of rapid ascent rates on a mountain that attracts thousands of visitors every year. Hopefully it will help to reduce the high frequency of high altitude diseases," says John B. West, MD, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of High Altitude Medicine & Biology and Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

High Altitude Medicine & Biology, the Official Journal of the International Society for Mountain Medicine (, is an authoritative, peer-reviewed journal published quarterly online and is the only journal dedicated exclusively to the latest advances in high altitude life sciences. The Journal presents findings on the effects of chronic hypoxia on lung and heart disease, pulmonary and cerebral edema, hypertension, dehydration, infertility, appetite and weight loss, and other diseases. Complete tables of content and the full text for this issue may be viewed online at

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including Journal of Aerosol Medicine and Pulmonary Drug Delivery, and Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonology. Its biotechnology trade magazine, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN), was the first in its field and is today the industry's most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm's 60 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available at

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 140 Huguenot St., New Rochelle, NY 10801-5215

Phone: (914) 740-2100 (800) M-LIEBERT Fax: (914) 740-2101

Vicki Cohn | EurekAlert!
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