The vegan climber who arrived at Everest and suffered altitude sickness

We have recently known the unfortunate case of Maria Strydom, a 34-year-old Australian woman who died last Friday during the Everest descent. What objective did you seek when you reached the highest peak in the world, and thus conquer the seven largest mountains on Earth, located in the Himalayas? What "Vegans can do anything".

In fact, a week before facing the unfortunate challenge Strydom granted an interview to a newspaper that publishes the University of Melbourne in which he worked. In it he assured that the main purpose for which he carried out this adventure was the one of disprove the widespread belief that vegans are "weak" and "malnourished".

"It seems that people have an idea that vegans are malnourished and we are weak he said in the interview. By climbing the seven summits we want to show that vegans can do anything and more. "

According to the news that has been known, last Friday Strydom faced the final attack to the summit, concretely from the Base Camp 4 (considered as the highest of the mountain). While her husband did manage to achieve 8,848 meters of altitude, she had to return after starting to feel bad.

Shortly after Strydom died suffering from altitude sickness, like the Dutch Eric Arnold, of 35 years, that although it is certain also managed to conquer the mountain along with the husband of Strydom, also died in the descent.

Since then many media have been echoing the terrible news, sometimes suggesting that it was actually the fact of being vegan that caused Strydom was not able to reach the desired summit and died shortly after. But it is not true at all:

What is altitude sickness?

The one known as altitude sickness, also called simply as bad mountain, is a disease that can affect anyone who climbs too fast to a mountain. It usually occurs when you reach a high altitude (more than 3,000 meters), or even when you only travel to cities that are located in height, as is the case, for example, of La Paz in Bolivia).

That is to say, it is a disease that can affect not only travelers, but especially alpinists, skiers and hikers.

Appears by the combination of low oxygen concentration at high altitudes and reduction of atmospheric pressure, and when it arises, there are usually mild symptoms, such as: insomnia, headache, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, feeling of dizziness, dizziness, fatigue, rapid pulse and respiratory distress that worsens with physical effort.

However, more serious symptoms may also occur, such as: respiratory distress, cyanosis (bluish discoloration of the skin), bloody expectoration, confusion, cerebral edema (gray or pale complexion), decreased state of consciousness, absolute inability to walk (or to do it in a straight line) and isolation from social interaction. Brain or pulmonary edema may also develop.

The basic medical treatment consists of try to descend to lower altitudes as soon as possible, applying oxygen in a mask and doing it through a certain rational balance of safety.

Why veganism was not what caused the death of the hiker?

Very simple, fundamentally because veganism could not have caused the death of the hiker, since Strydom died when ascending and finally descending very fast after trying to reach the top, as a result of the progressive decrease of atmospheric pressure and pressure. -partial- of the oxygen in the air that inspired.

That is, veganism can only cause imbalance or nutritional deficit if a correct and adequate diet is not followed, but never cause death.

This translates into something even simpler: altitude sickness does not depend on the physical form of the person, which can even affect the most experienced athletes and athletes.

Since oxygen is essential for life, its sudden decrease causes important alterations in our health, so that staying for a certainly excessive time can even cause death.

For this reason it is very important, before the descent, to undergo a period of acclimatization that helps the organism adapt to the low oxygen pressures, since the mountain sickness occurs when ascending quickly from a certain height to another higher, and remain at that height without adequate prior acclimatization has been carried out.

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