prevalence of chronic mountain sickness in the indian himalayas
Chronic Mountain Sickness (CMS) is a debilitating condition that affects people who live permanently at high altitude. The cause of the disease is currently unknown and no cure is available for those who suffer from it.
CMS is characterized by marked polycythemia (high red blood cell count), arterial desaturation, dyspnea (shortness of breath) and impaired mental function. In turn, the polycythemia-driven increase in blood viscosity can lead to pulmonary hypertension, heart failure and premature death. In some countries with significant numbers of people living at high altitude, such as Peru, CMS is a serious public health issue.
In May-June 2012 the ATMA Research Team travelled throughout the Indian Himalayas to study the prevalence of CMS and factors that may contribute to its presentation. In late 2013 the ATMA Research Team published their results in the Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The Research Team found, for the first time, that prevalence of CMS in the mountainous eastern districts of Himachal Pradesh is 6.17% overall and 13.73% at altitudes above 3000m. ATMA Researchers hope that this research may one day shed some light on the causes of CMS which may enable us to find appropriate treatments for the disease.