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Mountain disease

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mountain disease

A term that can mean acute altitude sickness; also used for chronic disease characterised by low oxygen saturation of haemoglobin, due to low partial pressure of oxygen in inspired air plus alveolar hypoventilation that develops in some individuals, especially older people. Polycythemia leads to florid skin colour but cyanosis appears on mild exertion, along with dyspnea, fatigue, headache, and mental torpor. A person so afflicted returns to normal shortly after return to lower altitude.