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Hypoxia is the name for a lack of oxygen in the human body and is the main cause of altitude sickness, although the exact mechanism is not understood.   

Hypoxia is the name for a lack of oxygen in the human body and is the main cause of altitude sickness, although the exact mechanism is not understood.   

Altitude sickness may appear when ascending to or staying at an altitude of more than 2,500 metres, and the symptoms are a consequence of the lack of oxygen at high altitudes.   

Everyone is at risk of altitude sickness, regardless of their sex or physical condition, but those with heart and/or lung problems may be more susceptible. The risk increases with higher altitudes.   

Altitude sickness may affect around 25% of travellers who sleep at 2,500 metres’ altitude, and up to 70% of travellers who ascend to more than 4,500 metres. Of these people, 1% may experience serious complications in the form of pulmonary or cerebral oedema.    

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