Higher elevations affect sarcoid

Have any of you found that mountainous areas or areas with higher elevations affect your symptoms? Planning a trip to the Great Smoky Mt. National Park in June and wondering how this might affect my pulmonary sarcoidosis. Was dx in Sept. and currently on 30 mg of Pred, down from 40mg. Oxygen sat level is normally 93-95. No breathing meds taken, yet. Hoping someone can help me know how to prepare and what to expect while we are in the mountains.

thx for all the support I've gotten from visiting this site.

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I couldn't agree more with the Gardner...I live in Colorado, the beautiful Rocky Mtn High State and my family members are convinced that the altitude affects my sarc. WEll, I disagree. I have been back home to NY and still suffer my symptoms of Sarc. My family has a good friend who has sarc who lives in NY and suffered terribly. I have visited the coast in California and was challenged more there by the coastline than I am at home in the "altitude." Yes, you are more winded doing anything in higher elevations, but so are our normally well winded non-sarc friends and family. Just stay hydrated and don't overdo!


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I was diagnosed with Sarcoid while on a business trip in Salt Lake City, UT. I was unable to do my usual run on the treadmill, was completely out of breath within 10 mins of walking. I figured just the higher elevation. As the week continued I had been really bothered by my breathlessness and at one conference I nearly passed out. They quickly called an ambulance thinking that I had a blod clot from the plane ride and elevation. After a CT scan they showed no clots, but nodules and enlarged lymph nodes with the common discussion from the doctor that it could be Sarcoid or Cancer.

After my return home and several tests later, we did conclude it was Sarcoid and I feel great. I'm not medicated but I am aware that at higher elevations I will experience some breathlessness and just limit the exertion I do in high altitudes. I wouldn't let it stop me from traveling or enjoying life. Who knows what the future holds for those of us with this diagnosis.

Good luck, enjoy your trip!

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Right after being diagnosed with pulmonary sarcoid I made a trip to Peru (Machu Pichu) with my husband. My pulmonologist told me that altitude could be a problem and I purchased an oximeter to monitor my oxygen sat. The difference was HUGE! At the highest elevation (11,000 or 12,000 I believe) I couldn't get my sat above the mid to high 80's and any uphill walking/climbing caused it to drop into the 70's (accompanied by VERY labored breathing). Once I returned to sea level my sat returned to 96+. I decided then that I would never take another high altitude trip and no longer ski with my family. I was not on prednisone or any other breathing med at the time which might have made a difference. I was also at very high altitude. Not sure that you will be at the same height but keep in mind that altitude = less oxygen.


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I asked this same question before because I did have significant changes when I changed elevation. Several people on this site said they did NOT have problems with elevation.

However from a purely scientific standpoint, as you go up in elevation the oxygen molecules are less dense in the air so you get less oxygen with every breath.

Obviously any effect would be related to how much actual pulmonary function loss we have from sarcoidosis and how well we have adapted I have a 75% function, and although there is no change in my CT scans, I am doing better, so I have probably adapted to some extent. My sat levels have always been in the 90s as well. However when I am at lower elevation I feel much better and when I am at higher, I am much more short of breath. I travel quite a bit, and from some of my experiences I think local pollution and humidity seem to have an affect as well.

I was only diagnosed about a year ago myself. We travel quite a bit, and we just think about a back up plan. The only time we had to use it was when we were at about 7,000 feet, and even then it was just coming down the mountain about 1,000 feet before I started feeling better. we still had a great outdoor experience--just a slower pace.

I hope this helps. I have really appreciated the sharing on this site. thanks to everyone!

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the comments about altitude and breathlessness have been very good. if you live at a higher altitude, your body adjusts (for example, your red blood count increases, as oxygen is carried this way). however, if you go quickly to a higher altitude, it is difficult to adjust immediately.

however, most of the great smokies are not as high as ranges such as the rockies, ( where the valleys are 7500), so if you take it easy for a few days, you may not notice much difference.

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I live in Australia's capital city which, unlike the better known Australian cities, is really quite small - population only about 320,000, and therefore not much pollution. The elevation is around 1900 feet, and the climate is usually on the dry side.

I find that when I go to visit my sister and my husband's family in our old home town, I have a lot of trouble breathing and coughing far more than normal. The elevation there is around 3000 feet. It's only small, but a coal-mining town in a valley, so a lot of people use coal fires and coal-fired hotwater systems, so even in summer the coal smoke tends to linger in the air.
I also have more trouble than normal when I visit my stepdaughter who lives on the coast, at an elevation of only 30 feet, but with a moister climate and (of course) saltier air, and not far from a large steelworking city.

My theory as a result is that it's not so much how much air there is, but rather what's (not) in it. I haven't dealt with extreme heights and thin air as you get in the rockies, etc, but in my experience, the clear air of the country has to be better than polluted air at any height, and my lungs, at least, don't handle humidity and salty air very well.

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