Colorado Springs Altitude Sickness: The Complete Guide

Colorado Springs Altitude

Curious about Colorado Springs altitude? Are you planning a visit or thinking thinking about moving to the area? Wondering if that elevation is really as big a deal as everyone says it is? Whether you’re living in Colorado Springs, planning to visit, or vacationing here, it pays to understand the altitude and know how it affects you and daily life.

Colorado Springs is known for its beautiful outdoor scenery and views. The city has many parks and trails to enjoy its natural beauty. There's many outdoor recreational activities and opportunities available year-round that attracts both visitors and movers alike. Hiking is a popular pastime with trails throughout the area. Climbers enjoy visiting Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak for climbing excursions during all seasons of the year. Shooting sports are popular with indoor and outdoor ranges available nearby. USA Olympic facilities are headquartered in Colorado Springs, as with the altitude it's a fertile training environment. These are just some of the many reasons for Colorado Springs popularity.

With our company Zaca based out of Colorado, we have first hand experience and information on the altitude effects. Colorado Springs altitude can be challenging to adjust to. Making a trip can leave you wishing you had just stayed home. If you plan to live or travel to Colorado Springs then you will want to know the effects of altitude on people. This comprehensive guide to Colorado Springs altitude answers all the important questions including how and why altitude affects people.

The Complete Guide to Colorado Springs Altitude and Avoiding Altitude Sickness


 

what is altitude sickness colorado springs altitude


What is altitude sickness?

Altitude sickness occurs when you travel to a higher altitude too quickly. Altitude sickness (also known as acute mountain sickness, AMS or altitude illness) is a form of hypoxia, or oxygen deficiency. It occurs mostly intensively above 8,000 feet (2,400 meters) above sea level, but can start to occur at altitudes over 3,000 feet.

Causes: Why do some people get altitude sickness while others don't? Essentially, it has to do with how your body reacts to the decreased oxygen levels at higher altitudes. Your body has a natural response to protect itself from low levels of oxygen by slowing down your heart rate and blood flow. This reaction makes it feel like you're working harder than you actually are while exercising.


what is Colorado Springs altitude


What is Colorado Springs altitude?

Colorado Springs is at an altitude of 6,035 feet. Although more commonly altitude sickness develops most intense at 8,000 feet, at places like Breckenridge at 9,600 feet altitude and Vail at 8,150 feet altitude, it can start to occur at elevations as low as 3,000-6,000 feet. If you are not accustomed to the altitude and when changes in altitude overpower our ability to acclimatize, there's a high chance you will experience the symptoms of altitude sickness. 

Colorado Springs is the highest city on the front range of Colorado. You may wonder is Denver Colorado altitude any different? Denver sits at 5,280 feet, hence the city was coined the nickname Mile High City. The potential altitude sickness will not vary much between Denver and Colorado Springs.

If you're preparing to climb a mountain like Pikes Peak, that is the most extreme altitude at 14,115 feet. Much more will need to be done to prepare at those heights, you can read our blog 7 Ways to Prevent Altitude Sickness.


common symptoms of Colorado Springs altitude sickness


Common symptoms of Colorado Springs altitude sickness

The air is less dense at higher altitudes and for people who are not used to that, it can cause headaches, nausea, fatigue and difficulty breathing. Symptoms of altitude sickness will vary, but will usually develop between 6 and 24 hours.

The most common symptoms of high altitude are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness, or fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Short of breath
  • Confusion
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite

For some people with mild symptoms, these are a nuisance. For others, they are more severe and may keep them from doing what they would normally do at lower altitude. Some people don't get any symptoms until they have been at higher altitude for a while. Finally, there are people who have serious problems right away. Most people will feel some shortness of breath if they climb a flight of stairs quickly when they first arrive at higher altitude. However, some people develop what is called "acute mountain sickness" or AMS. It is important to recognize this as soon as possible because it can become more serious without proper precautions and preparation. It is difficult to predict who will get AMS and why. 

Why do some people get altitude sickness while others don't? Essentially, it has to do with how your body reacts to the decreased oxygen levels at higher altitudes. Your body has a natural response to protect itself from low levels of oxygen by slowing down your heart rate and blood flow. This reaction makes it feel like you're working harder than you actually are while exercising.


what helps avoid altitude sickness in Colorado


What helps prevent altitude sickness in Colorado

How do you avoid altitude sickness in Colorado? That's a common question. The good news, there's a few things you can do to help prevent altitude sickness. As a company where we work with hotels throughout Colorado dealing with tourists altitude sickness, we complied our top three tips below. As with anything else, prevention is your best bet. If you know you're headed to high altitudes, take extra care to prepare yourself. That way, even if symptoms of altitude sickness do start to crop up, they'll be mild and temporary.

1. Stay hydrated at high altitude

At higher elevations your body has to work harder and breaths faster to get more oxygen. When your respiration rate goes up, and your body loses water a lot faster than normal. Due to increased respiration, your body loses water at high altitudes twice as fast as it does at sea level stated by the Wilderness Medical Society.

The double whammy is that Colorado has a very dry climate. Between higher altitudes and the dry weather, drinking lots of water is crucial. Drink plenty of water before you get thirsty, and especially the day you arrive. Again, the first 6-24 hours are when people usually start experiencing altitude sickness symptoms. Also drink plenty of water before leaving going out on a day trip or hike.

Keep in mind that much water can deplete electrolytes and minerals, so make sure to always replace them. Use a hydration product, or a quick and easy hack is to use sea salt every day on your foods or drop some into some water. Sea salt not only replenishes sodium, but is also loaded with up to 74 trace minerals including phosphorus, bromine, boron, zinc, iron, manganese, copper and silicon.

2. Stay rested during altitude adjustment

It usually takes a few days for your body to adjust to altitude changes. This is called acclimatization. During that period get plenty of rest before and during your trip – don't overdo it with sightseeing or other physical activities when you first arrive. Also take deep breaths often in order to help prevent or ease altitude sickness.

3. Supplement your body to protect from altitude sickness

Supplementing is another way to give your body the ability to protect and help with altitude sickness.

Glutathione appears to quickly deplete at high altitude. Glutathione is known as the master antioxidant because of its ability to neutralize harmful free radicals in our bodies. With lower glutathione levels, your body is more susceptible to the many forms of damage it normally can protect you from.

It's best to start taking this before you take a trip to high altitudes. If you already have altitude sickness, then you might want to consider taking it for a few days until you start to feel better. In addition to dealing with altitude sickness, glutathione has many other great benefits, it provides antioxidant support as well as detoxification support. Glutathione helps your liver remove toxins from your body so they don't cause damage or illness. Glutathione is also very important for your immune system.

A second supplement is Glutamine. It has been hypothesized in a study that mood and cognition are worsened by inflammation in hypoxia (altitude sickness), may be diminished by glutamine supplementation.¹ Glutamine is a major building block for protein in the body, also helping to make other amino acids and glucose. It can also help immune function, gut function, and enhances hydration, which makes it more prevalent in times of stress like with high altitude when the body uses more glutamine.

 
Altitude Sickness is an extremely common condition among people who come to Colorado Springs from lower or moderate altitude areas. The good news is that you no longer have to wait until you get there to adjust. This guide of Colorado Springs altitude and altitude sickness has given you some new ideas on dealing and combating altitude sickness with the thin air.

    Are you looking for an easy-to-use altitude supplement? Try our sugar-free Hydration Chewables that contain glutathione and glutamine!

     


     


    SOURCES:
    1. The Possible Importance of Glutamine Supplementation to Mood and Cognition in Hypoxia from High Altitude
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7760805/