A post trek exploratory study on the physical and psychological ill health effects of trekking to Everest base camp following observations by the author
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AbstractThe purpose of this retrospective study was to understand and test the theory that multiple physical and psychological ill health effects occur when trekking at high altitude to Everest Base Camp (EBC), Nepal. The tour operator, The Adventure Company, agreed to send out 100 questionnaires to clients who had undertaken either the 11 day trek via Tengboche or the 16 day via Goyko Lakes, to EBC. The questionnaires also considered: age, gender, general levels of fitness and previous experience of trekking at altitude. The respondents (n=49) were 53% male (n = 26) and 45% female (n=22) and one unknown. Of the 49 participants, 36 lost weight (p < 0.001) sd ± 2.95 of which 17 were males (p < 0.001) sd ± 2.6 and 19 were females (p <0.001) sd ± 3.3. Altitude sickness was experienced by 38 trekkers or 78% (p < 0.001) using the Lake Louise Score for Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS); 35% (n=17) had mild AMS, 43% (n=21) had severe AMS. The incidence of other conditions was: bacterial infections = (n= 31) or 57% (p < 0.001); general heart rate (n=26) or 55% (p<0.0001); and 71% (n=35) heart rate at night (p <0.0001); low mood = (n=16) or 33% (p< 0.001). The incidence of AMS was higher on reaching 4000m and was consistent with the literature. Other factors identified and consistent with the literature included: significant weight loss; bacterial infections; increase in heart rate in general and at night. Low mood was present during the trek and for some people continued on returning home and has not been well documented in other studies reviewed. Further research on the multiple ill health effects of trekking and how they may be prevented or better managed is needed to reduce risk and aid overall enjoyment.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
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