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Old 21 Sep 2008
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Need advice for high altitude

After several months of planning, I'm 12 days aways from my flight to Buenos Aires. I've planned to moto up to Salta and accross the Andes and on to Cuszo. Unfortunately my heart required stents 10 days ago (what luck). My cardiac doc doesn't think the trip should be a problem but I'm concerned about high altitude difficulties. Perhaps coca leaves are the "ticket" as an Argentine friend has told me. My mental health right now is at low ebb. Any encouragement/discouragement you have to offer? Thanks
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Old 21 Sep 2008
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You don't say how high you are going but if the doctors says its ok, it must be.

You should be aware that above 3500-4000m its normal to have irregular heartbeat even with missing heartbeats. Its just a small nuisance and not dangerous at all.
Last I trekked in the Everest region I had these symptoms 2-3weeks in a row but I have a friend who turned around twice, after a sleepless night in 4000m because he was too nervous about the strange heartbeat.

So if you are very nervous AND go above 3500m it could be a nervewrecking experience.

If its lower than 3000m the thinner air won't even bother you.

I would stay far away from any chemical that could maybe mask any symptoms instead of curing them. But thats me, I didn't drink any alcohol when staying 5 weeks in the Himalayas.

PS: most airlines lower the pressure in the cabin to about 3000m equivalent, so if you're ok for flying, you'll be ok for riding that altitude.
May you enjoy peace and good health !
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Old 1 Oct 2008
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Don't chew coco

Hi, i would recommend going above the level you intend to sleep at and then going back down. Friends of mine tried the coco and I noticed that their anxiety levels were higher and they had stomach problems later.
Go with a positive attitude and you will be better off.
The Gypsy
Second star on the right.
Then straight on till morning.
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Old 1 Oct 2008
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take it easy

I,ve lived in Quito for many years and last year spent many months at 4000m-4700m the trick is really just to take it easy,don,t try running around or even climbing stairs quickly,nothing strenuous at least for the first couple of days.Gradually add a little more action day by day as you feel up too it. The only real pain in the ass was waking up at 3 in the morning with a thumping headache!! Bring plenty of advil.
Al theturtleshead
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Old 2 Oct 2008
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I'd add the following tips I read about:

1. Drink more water than normal to compensate loss because lower atmospheric pressure, and because urination is higher, up to 0.5 litres extra/day.

2. Previous ingestion of some elemental iron (2 x 120 mg/day) with Vitamin C, 30 minutes before food or 60 minutes after them for better absortion. The more iron, the more red-cells, so more carriers for less oxigen from air.

3. Ingestion of liquid carbohydrates to compesate loss of appetite.

4. Ingest no salt or only small amounts to control hands and feet swelling.

5. Absolutelly NO heavy fats AND alcohol.

6. Protect against dehydratation through the skin.

7. If you're felling not good, consider riding to a lower site just to sleepping there. There is a rule about acclimatation that says : Climb high, sleep low.

In my case, I have been in Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia ( 4.800 + meters ) more than 30 times, but I learnt too late that drinking enough water to compesate dehidratation, was the clue for not having headache.

Enjoy the route, I'll see you in the road.

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Old 3 Oct 2008
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Coca leaves tea will help you breathing and sleeping at night. Take few cups before bedtime.
It really helps.

For your bike make sure you have adequate oil (5-20 or 0-20 that sort of grade!) it will be easier to start in the morning. Get the bike in a sunny spot in the morning, 1 or 2 hour before starting the bike, that works too.

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Old 4 Oct 2008
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Originally Posted by maria41 View Post
Coca leaves tea will help you breathing and sleeping at night. Take few cups before bedtime.
It really helps.

For your bike make sure you have adequate oil (5-20 or 0-20 that sort of grade!) it will be easier to start in the morning. Get the bike in a sunny spot in the morning, 1 or 2 hour before starting the bike, that works too.
Another good trick if you know that you will be having battery problems in the morning is to park on a steep hill to camp.
http://www.journeyrider.net Latin America blog (07-8)
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