Monday, 29 October 2012

Huarcapay School Charity Project

The Charity Project 

In April, we will be rebuilding and renovating a school in Huarcapay, Peru.  We have now finalised details of the project and quotes for the materials in Peru. The school resides 30 mins outside of Cuzco, in an area suffering with poverty and malnutrition.  

The most important aspect we are planning to build a self-sustaining garden and greenhouse, which will allow the pupils and village to feed themselves effectively throughout the year. 
We desperately need to raise £2200 to pay for the building and gardening project at the school. The benefits of this will have huge implications for the pupils and the village. If you could offer some support please let us know. If you wish to make a donation please go to JustGiving or text PERU97 £1 to 70070 to donate £1 (if you want to donate £5 text PERU97 £5). All the money goes towards the project. 

Some pictures of the garden and the playground we will be renovating. You can see that this is a large garden area used by the community to supply the community with the food they need.



The paddling pool that needs tiling. 

The playground that needs a bit of TLC.


Text PERU97 £1 to 70070

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

High altitude health advice

High Altitude Health Advice

Typically mountaineers ascend from low to higher altitudes and are thus exposed to continuously increasing hypoxia. As the altitude increases, the barometric pressure within the surrounding environment falls. This drop in barometric pressure, and thus drop in the density of the air means that there are fewer oxygen molecules in a given volume of air than there are at sea level. Therefore with each breath, less oxygen is able to be taken in and utilised by the body. This subsequent reduction in oxygen delivery coupled with various other confounding factors can therefore induce health issues for an individual at altitude.
This page will identify the health issues that are likely to arise on a trip to high altitude (above 2,500m) and provide advice as to how these conditions may be prevented and/or treated in order to maximise both the safety and the enjoyment from any high altitude sojourn.

These pages offer advice and guidelines that have been based on previous literature. These pages however should not be taken as the only options and any individual travelling to altitude should seek medical advice from an expert before doing so.

Acute effects of hypoxia; the initial effects of altitude exposure

A number of physiological responses occur when an individual is first exposed to altitude. The awareness of these responses is important for the mountaineer or the recreational climber;

·         An increase in ventilation. i.e. the rate and depth of breathing
·         An increase in both the heart rate (HR) and the cardiac output of an individual
·         Increased diuresis
·         Increased blood lactate
·         Greater red blood cell (RBC) production (Approximately after seven days)
·         Increased perception of effort

The acute responses to hypoxia outlined above, indicate the fact that the human body is an adaptive organism that has the ability to adjust to the changing environment around it and that the acclimatisation of the body to altitude, albeit up to a certain point, is possible. Acclimatisation is a term used to describe the slow adaptation of the body to cope with the lower levels of oxygen at altitude and should figure in the planning of all individuals preparing to ascend to high altitude. If adequate time is allowed during a climb to high altitude, the majority of healthy individuals will be able to function unhindered. This, in turn will increase the chances of summiting.

When travelling to high altitude sufficient acclimatisation is also imperative in order to avoid altitude illnesses. The speed of the ascent and the susceptibility of an individual are the two main determining factors culminating in the risk of developing an altitude illness. When going too high too fast, the body is unable to adapt sufficiently and life-threatening illnesses may be the consequence. Susceptibility to such illness differs from person to person, however and an altitude that may evoke symptoms in certain climbers may provoke no such effect in others. Therefore In a group of climbers the acclimatisation process should always be tailored to ensure that the health of the individual who is slowest to acclimatise is maintained.

So what is recommended?
·         Do not rush the acclimatisation phase (It is now possible to start the acclimatisation process prior to departure)
·         Do not sleep at an altitude exceeding 300m higher than the previous night
·         If possible schedule a rest day every 2-3 days
·         Ensure, if climbing in a group, the process is tailored to the individual who is slowest to acclimatise
·         Be aware of the time course of AMS (below)

Acclimatisation to hypoxia is, as already stated, possible up to a certain threshold. It is estimated that the upper limit for the permanent acclimatisation of an individual is approximately 5,000m. Above which the process of permanent acclimatisation becomes impossible as the body starts to deteriorate. Short term acclimatisation, however is possible amongst healthy individuals to an altitude of approximately 6,500m. Above this point (extreme altitude) the body will deteriorate linearly with increasing altitude and supplementary oxygen will usually always have to be administered.

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)

The most common illness associated with travel to altitude is termed acute mountain sickness (AMS). AMS develops in mountaineers ascending to high altitudes who are un-acclimatised. The condition usually develops within 6-12 hours of reaching a critical altitude and peaks at approximately 24 hours. Although some incidences of AMS have been reported at as low as 1000m the condition is usually experienced at an altitude of approximately 3,000m and above.

 The incidence of AMS increases with altitude, and hypoxia is the main causative factor for the onset of the illness. When mountaineers ascend rapidly to 2,500 m, about 10% will suffer from AMS, and when ascending to 4,500 m, the AMS incidence will exceed 60%. Therefore an individual climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for example, which stands at a height of 5,985m, should expect to develop at least some of the symptoms associated with AMS and therefore take precautions for both the prevention and treatment of such symptoms.

 AMS is characterised by;
·         Frontal lobe headache
·         Nausea
·         Fatigue
·         Vomiting
·         Tiredness/ difficulty sleeping
·         Lack of appetite

 In more severe cases further symptoms include;

·         Ataxia (decreased co-ordination)
·         Decreased mental status i.e. confusion, aggression

How to treat AMS

During slow ascents with multiple overnight stays at altitude, an individual acclimatizes, and AMS can be avoided, once again highlighting the importance of a well planned acclimatisation schedule and illustrating how prevention is better than treatment. However, often such symptoms, such as a headache, are inevitable at altitude with approximately 96% of all people at high altitude suffering from the symptom. Therefore it is of importance to know what can be done to combat such symptoms at altitude.

It is also of importance to be aware of the time frame of such altitude conditions in order to determine whether an individual has truly passed the vulnerable stage of the illness and can therefore continue with their ascent. This, however in some cases is difficult as the development of symptoms can continue to worsen from anywhere between 12 hours and 3 days.  
The occurrence of AMS does not necessarily spell the end of a climb; it does however mean that certain measures should be taken in order to prevent the development of AMS in to a more serious condition. Such measures include;
·         Administration of supplemental oxygen
·         Sufficient fluid replacement
·         The cessation of any further ascent for at least 1 day (or until symptoms are reduced)
·         The use of acetazolamide (Diamox)
·         The use of Paracetamol/Ibuprofen in order to combat headaches
·         If symptoms persist it is imperative individuals descend

General advice whilst at high altitude

 ·         Keep an eye on fellow climbers
·         Be honest regarding how you are feeling, do not lie about,  or undersell any symptoms you may have
·         Be prepared before you leave
·         Make sure you know how to prevent, identify and treat the illnesses that may arise
·         Remember that slow ascent is the most important measure to prevent the onset of altitude illness
·         If you have any existing health conditions prior to departure i.e. diabetes, asthma etc, ensure you see a doctor or specialist to find out the risks your condition may pose to high altitude travel and ensure you  have taken all precautions necessary

The use of the drug acetazolamide has been mentioned a number of times. This drug, with the trade name of Diamox, is used as prevention against the effects of AMS. The drug works by speeding up the acclimatisation process and can also aid the sleep condition of periodic breathing. Although the drug works to reduce the effects of AMS it does not mask the symptoms and mountaineers should be aware that individuals can still suffer from AMS as well as the more serious conditions of HAPE and HACE whilst taking the drug. It is also important to be aware that some people may be allergic to the drug which may cause the tingling of the extremities; however this will cease when the taking of the drug has stopped.
The use of a pressure bag, or a Gamow bag as it is also known, has also been recommended. Although these bags can save lives it is also important to be aware of the accompanying problems that come with such equipment. Such problems include difficulty communicating with an individual inside the bag and the subsequent difficulty in monitoring their situation. Furthermore if dealing with an individual who has lost consciousness a person will need to be inside in order to closely monitor the condition of the ill individual. Moreover such bags can damage the eardrums and in many cases recovery is often short lived. Nevertheless, as already stated such a piece of equipment can save lives at high altitude and it is essential for an individual planning on travelling to such an environment to be aware of such equipment.

Further possible health problems at altitude
·         Blocked nose and sore throat
·         Sun burn
·         Dehydration
·         Heat stroke
·         Hypothermia/hyperthermia
·         Exhaustion
·         Diarrhoea
·         Constipation

 A number of health issues, big and small, are possible to occur when travelling to high altitude and as already stated individuals should be aware of what the risks are. This page has outlined the main and most serious illnesses and provided advice as to how these illnesses can be prevented and treated. Prevention is the best treatment and if properly prepared there is no reason why these conditions should spoil your climbing/ mountaineering experience.  
 Good Luck!

Burtscher, M. (2007). Arterial oxygen saturation during ascending to altitude under various conditions: Lessons from the field. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 6, 535-537.
Burtscher, M., Brandstatter, E., Gatterer, H. (2007). Preacclimatisation in simulated altitudes. Sleep Breath. 12 (2). 109-114.
Burtscher, M., Szubski, C., Faulhaber, M. (2007). Prediction of the susceptibility to AMS at simulated altitude. Sleep Breath. 12 (2). 103-108.
Maggiorini, M., Melot, C., Pierre, S. Et al. (2001). High altitude pulmonary edema is initially caused by an increase in capillary pressure. Circulation. 103 (16). 2078-83.
Roach, R.C., Hackett, P.H. (2001). Frontiers of hypoxia research: acute mountain sickness.The Journal of Experimental Biology. 18. 3161-70.
Strote, J., Prutkin, J. (2006). High-altitude pulmonary edema presenting 18 hours after descent. Wilderness and Environmental Medicine. 17 (2). 137-9.
Tannheimer, M.A.J., Albertini, A., et al. (2009). Testing individual risk of acute mountain sickness at greater altitudes. Military Medicine. 174 (4). 363-9.

Cycle Challenge Finale

The Final Day

Some very weary bodies arrived bright and early to finish off the challenge in the middle of Eastbourne's shopping centre. We set up five bikes, a display and a table with various activities for the public such as blood pressure, vertical jump, lung function and the thermal camera. Seven bikes continued running up in Eastbourne Sports Centre foyer.

Sadly the saddles hadn't got any more comfortable overnight and most the group had at least 3-4hours to complete before 5.30pm.

As if cycling and fundraising wasn’t enough the students set up physiological testing stations in the Arndale shopping centre and educated, tested and measured the public, young and old on exercise and health related parameters ranging from standard laboratory measures such as heart rate and blood pressure monitoring, lung function, and anaerobic power, to the less familiar cognitive function and thermoregulatory analyses utilising stroop tests and thermal cameras. The profile of Peru 2013 was certainly raised by this final day’s exhibition and the students were a credit to the University of Brighton and the BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science degree.

For all those Harry fans out there, yes he sweated and yes he was a broken man for a while. But like everyone else he got through it eventually.

At 5.30pm the total of hours accumulated was calculated and we had completed 83 hours on top of the previous 139 and 133 hours, totalling 10200km (265km further than required). That's roughly 1,450,400 pedal revolutions 201,600 kcal burned (equal to ~2,000 bananas, or for the less healthy ~400 Big Mac burgers!) A brilliant effort by all!

Celebrations were slightly muted as most were looking forward to sleeping or as much glucose as possible.

After completing the challenge, if you feel you like donate towards the rebuilding and renovation of the Peruvian school in Huarcapay, please visit JustGiving. If you have donated THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Please keep following our blog to see how we get on in Peru!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Cycling Day 2

So Day 2 of the Peru Cycle Challenge.....

The morning after the day before. Some very weary bodies again arrived at 8am, sore legs and bums were the norm, with many bringing cushions for the saddles today!!

After a brilliant daily total from everyone yesterday, 17hrs up on the target, everyone continued to work incredibly hard to keep the total going.

The swimming dream team of Alice Marchant, Alice Smyth and Sophie Thrussell put in a tremendous effort first thing, each completing 2 hours in one stint!
Brilliant effort girls!!

Alex Nichols enjoyed it so much today, we can quote him
 "I want to be a professional cyclist"

Senior Lecturers and Staff (Alan, Mark, Neil, Oli and Ben) were seen popping in between lecturing to do their hours. Rumour has it, Alan was lecturing on a bike this afternoon!!

The prize for the most unconventional cycling technique most definitely goes to Kane Reed, not sure he would quite make David Brailsford's Team Sky but a fantastic effort from him though none the less!
Great effort Kane!

Padded shorts were a key piece of equipment for many today and were seen on Rebecca Relf, Harry McCullough, Dominic Hedges, Hannah Webb and Alan Richardson among others!

Neil Maxwell and Oli Gibson both managed to watch an entire film on their Ipads today, thats one way of making the time go by!!

Oli and Ben hard at work on the bikes

The consumption of pasta has been at an all time high, with students using our sports nutrition knowledge to help fuel us. Chocolate, cakes and biscuits were also seen to be very popular with everyone!

A special mention must go to Lottie Thompson, who when not cycling provided endless amounts of food (well Jaffa Cakes and Chocolate!)

It has been great fun again today with everyone putting in a fantastic effort.

The final total today was 139 hours, keeping us ahead of the overall target.

Back for day 3 tomorrow......

Cycling Day 1

The Cycle Challenge: Day 1

The wheels of the 12 bikes started turning at 8am on Thursday and we were still going at 9pm.

Some were already looking a little worn after the first hour. It wasn't long until the feasibility of the task was being questioned with the standard answer being "It was a good idea at the time". The enthusiastic trepidation soon turned to a sea of thoroughly unhappy individuals, except the ever jovial Jacob Miles to enjoy the challenge, completing 7 hours of cycling. 

Some students spent much of the time ensuring their energy stores were appropriately managed.

Overall we accumulated 133 hours of cycling between us - 17 hours more than our target! Hopefully we will have recovered well enough for the same tomorrow....?

If you feel like we deserve some sponsorship please donate here or come down and see us. 
Remember the money raised will go towards renovating and rebuilding a Peruvian School in Huarcapay near Cusco.