Skiers with Altitude Sickness may be Hypothyroid

Skiers who exhibit signs of altitude sickness at high elevation ski resorts may actually be hypothyroid. Lower oxygen levels at higher altitudes, combined with slower breathing rates, contribute to headaches and out-of-breath feelings.
By: Barbara Lougheed
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High Altitude Sickness
Ski Resort Elevation
Ski Resort Review


Florida - US

Dec. 8, 2011 - PRLog -- Recreational skiers, or those who only fly to high elevation ski resorts with their family every spring break, occasionally experience symptoms of high altitude sickness.  Some get these symptoms while others don’t.  Why do some skiers experience headaches, shortness of breath, restless sleep, a faster heart rate, and general feelings of malaise?  It may be that this group is actually hypothyroid to some degree, but typical lab tests are not catching it.  The TSH or Thyroid Stimulating Hormone test used to diagnose hypothyroidism is not foolproof and actually fails to catch many cases.  This is because TSH is a pituitary hormone, not a thyroid hormone, and while it theoretically should reflect actual thyroid levels, it often does not.  A good explanation of this can be found at

Skiers who are already taking some form of thyroid medication like levothyroxine or Synthroid are especially prone to being undermedicated, because these medications do not contain any T3 or triiodothyronine, which is the active thyroid hormone that gives cells energy.  These people may also have a normal TSH, giving no clue that they are undermedicated.  While further testing can reveal whether T3 levels are too low, and different medications with T3 are available, what’s a hypothyroid skier to do in the meantime?  Spring break only comes around once a year, and many families plan an annual ski trip out west, where elevation in places like Colorado can top 12,000 feet. is a new website created by a hypothyroid mother, with reviews and pictures of 18 different ski resorts in the western US.  Tips on choosing a ski resort and a table that ranks major ski resorts in the western US by elevation can be found here  Not all ski resorts out west reach 12,000 feet.  In fact, some ski resorts in Washington, Idaho, and Montana peak at less than 8,000 feet.  Others, like Snowbird in Utah, peak at 11,000 feet, but nearby lodging can be found in the Salt Lake City area around 4,500 feet.  The elevation one sleeps at can make a big difference in how easily one acclimates to the high altitude.  Other tips for dealing with altitude sickness are found at  

Ski resort reviews in are from the point of view of a 40-something working mother, a barely intermediate skier, and differ from that found in most ski magazines, which highlight the fastest, steepest runs.  Women like this mother are looking for gentle ski runs they can do, while their kids (and husbands) head for the black diamonds.  Is the mountain steep, or are gentle green runs available?  How’s the food, and how crowded is the ski resort?  They are looking for other activities besides skiing, and wondering how far and easy it is to get in and out of the airports near these ski resorts, since they are probably also working mothers pressed for time and looking for less stress, not more.  These are the things covered in’s reviews.  

Ski resorts reviewed are in Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Lake Tahoe, Utah, and Colorado.  Some are at high elevations, others are not. gives working moms some other ski resort ideas to consider when they plan their next ski trip.  And if they are prone to altitude sickness, the Ski Resorts by Elevation table should come in handy. was created by a hypothyroid patient for all hypothyroid patients taking thyroid medication who don’t feel well, in spite of being told they are “just fine” because they have a normal TSH.  The problems with current testing protocols and lab ranges are explained, and documented with medical journal references for patients and their doctors. was created by a hypothyroid mother who cannot tolerate high altitudes and is more comfortable skiing green and easy blue runs.  Ski resorts in the western US are reviewed from the point of view of an average skier who enjoys the scenery, hates crowds, and is looking for things to do with her family.
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Tags:Ski, High Altitude Sickness, Hypothyroid, Ski Resort Elevation, Ski Resort Review
Industry:Health, Medical, Travel
Location:Florida - United States
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