June 16, 2013
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Clinical syndromes due to altitude can manifest in susceptible individuals with elevations as low as 1500 meters (5000 feet) above sea level. For otherwise healthy adults, altitudes of 2350 meters (8000 feet) are considered the arbitrary cutoff for placing one at risk for more serious syndromes, such as acute mountain sickness (AMS). While decreased ambient oxygen pressure is the most evident change at high altitude and presumably is responsible for most of the pathophysiologic derangements, other factors may have medical implications as well, such as decreased ambient temperature, increased exposure to ultraviolet radiation, and lower humidity.