Millions of people get altitude sickness every year when travelling to ski resorts and other recreational destinations in the mountains. Now a product known as the Altitude Mouthpiece is available and can prevent or treat the debilitating symptoms of Altitude Sickness known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS).
- Rapid heart rate
What Causes AMS?
This condition is caused by the reduced concentration of oxygen in the blood in high altitudes. At high elevations the body struggles to get the necessary oxygen to survive because there is less oxygen available due to the decreased atmospheric pressure as the altitude is increased.
Scientific studies have shown AMS is caused by oxygen de-saturation in the blood particularly during sleep. During the day at altitude the saturation seems to remain higher through various mechanisms. Yet this protective feature disappears during sleep. To some extent AMS is a sleep breathing disorder like snoring and obstructive sleep apnea at sea level which also show oxygen de-saturation events during sleep.
There is a natural relaxation of the upper airway during sleep causing the muscles of the upper airway to become floppy resulting in upper airway obstruction. This problem is worse when sleeping on your back. Normally the diaphragm (controlled by the autonomic nervous system) overcomes this increased airway resistance at sea level. For most people at sea level their sleeping oxygen saturation remains normal due to the ambient oxygen pressure and muscle activity of the diaphragm. However, the relaxed airway during sleep at altitude becomes a greater problem since there is less oxygen pressure.
Alcohol and other sedatives may influence the onset of AMS. Excessive alcohol or sedative consumption may cause upper airway tissues to relax and may result in snoring as the soft tissues vibrate while the body attempts to overcome the airway obstruction. For example sleeping with a head cold may precipitate the onset of snoring since the nasal passages are obstructed. Obesity and respiratory illnesses also seem to pre dispose persons to AMS. It appears that airway obstruction and the similar causes of snoring or sleep apnea may be involved with the onset of AMS. Some people may be genetically predisposed to AMS while others may be affected due to airway obstruction or possibly a combination may be involved.
How to treat AMS
- Return to a lower elevation
- Oxygen therapy under medical supervision
- Altitude Mouthpiece
There are several problems with all treatments. Returning to a lower elevation may completely ruin any planned vacation. Personal oxygen canisters may provide relief momentarily. Medically supervised oxygen therapy may be effective but can be time consuming and costly. Medications can require a doctor’s visit and there are multiple undesirable side effects of these drugs. The altitude mouthpiece has none of those side effects and may provide maximum relief for those cases of AMS caused from airway obstruction.
Recent studies with a mouthpiece at altitude have been shown to prevent the onset of AMS for susceptible persons. For persons suffering from nasal allergies, snoring, sleep apnea, teeth grinding, jaw pain, head colds, obesity or other conditions causing upper airway obstruction the altitude mouthpiece may offer the only solution required to prevent Altitude Sickness.
How the Altitude Mouthpiece Works
The altitude mouthpiece (AMP) is a self-fit upper and lower mouthguard type appliance. When properly fitted the mouthpiece will advance the jaw and open the airway to its optimum location. Opening the airway will help maintain the airway during sleep and reduce the oxygen de-saturation events associated with the onset of AMS. The patent pending altitude mouthpiece device incorporates several features which optimize comfortable breathing at altitude. The AMP is used during sleep for 2-5 nights while in high altitude locations until the body acclimates to the high altitude. Due to its short term use no long term side effects are expected.
For mild to moderate cases of Acute Mountain Sickness the Altitude Mouthpiece has been shown to prevent and treat the symptoms altitude sickness. The usage of the Altitude Mouthpiece is a safe no drug option which can be used alone or in combination with other treatments during the body’s adjustment period at high altitude. This allows full enjoyment of the mountain experience.