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Chronic mountain sickness
Chronic mountain sickness (CMS) is a disease that can develop during extended time living at altitude. It is also known as 'Monge’s disease' , after its first description in 1925 by Carlos Monge. The acute form of mountain or altitude sickness is acute mountain sickness, and is experienced shortly after ascent to high altitude. In contrast, chronic mountain sickness may develop after many years of living at high altitude. In medicine, high altitude is defined as over 2500 metres, but most cases of CMS occur at over 3000 m.
Additional recommended knowledge
CMS is characterised by polycythemia (increased hematocrit) and hypoxemia which both decrease on descent from altitude. CMS is believed to arise because of an excessive production of red blood cells, which increases the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood but may cause increased blood viscosity and uneven blood flow through the lungs (V/Q mismatch). However, CMS is also considered an adaptation of pulmonary and heart disease to life under chronic hypoxia at altitude.
Treatment involves descent from altitude, where the symptoms will diminish and the hematocrit return to normal slowly. Acute treatment at altitude involves bleeding (phlebotomy), removal of circulating blood, to reduce the hematocrit; however this is not ideal for extended periods.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Chronic_mountain_sickness". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|