Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)

or High Altitude Sickness (HA)

Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), is a condition that occurs when individuals ascend to high altitudes too quickly, where barometric pressure and oxygen tension is decreased. The decrease in barometric pressure (“thinner air”) can trigger a range of physiological responses which include reduced oxygen levels, dilation of blood vessels, fluid accumulation in various body tissues including the brain, and inflammation.  The severity of altitude sickness can vary from mild to severe. Mild symptoms might include headache, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and shortness of breath while more severe cases could lead to swelling in the brain and or lungs (1).

Extivita Therapies for AMS/HA:

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Acute Mountain Sickness:

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease - Chapel Hill

Research has shown that using HBOT before going to higher elevations (i.e., 8000 feet and above, although AMS can impact at lower elevation) may help prevent AMS.  Mechanisms by which HBOT may prevent AMS include (2):

  • Inhibiting inflammatory response
  • Reduce low oxygen tissue injury
  • Promotes cellular adaptation and cell survival under low oxygen conditions (hypoxia)
  • Increasing antioxidant production

IV Therapy for Acute Mountain Sickness:

Intravenous nutrient therapy, like our Meyer’s cocktail, is composed of vitamins and minerals that can enhance the body’s capacity to carry oxygen, improve hydration, boost antioxidant and immune support, and provide protection against oxidative stress and inflammation. Studies show that antioxidants such as glutathione and vitamin C, decrease in levels with high altitude exposure, adversely effecting antioxidant defense mechanisms (3). Use with PEMF therapy can enhance nutrient absorption into tissues.

Nutritional IV Therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease in Durham, NC
Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF) in Durham, NC

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF) for Acute Mountain Sickness:

Pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy has been shown to greatly enhance microcirculation. This therapy involves using a device that emits safe, low electromagnetic signals at various frequencies, aiming to stimulate the body’s natural healing mechanisms. When combined with IV nutrient therapy, PEMF treatment can boost circulation and improve the delivery of nutrients to cells and tissues, enhancing microvascular perfusion, and decreasing inflammation.

  1. Clark, Stephen T., and Mack Sheraton. “EMS high-altitude field prophylaxis and treatment.” (2020).
  2. You, Jiuhong et al. “Hyperbaric oxygen preconditioning for prevention of acute high-altitude diseases: Fact or fiction?.” Frontiers in physiology vol. 14 1019103. 25 Jan. 2023, doi:10.3389/fphys.2023.1019103
  3. Vats, Praveen, et al. “Glutathione metabolism under high-altitude stress and effect of antioxidant supplementation.” Aviation, space, and environmental medicine 79.12 (2008): 1106-1111.