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La Paz



Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

The high altitude creates challenges to varying degrees for folks. Caveat: I run here. It's not a big deal. That said, some experience asthma-like symptoms, headaches, and insomnia, due to the extreme altitude. You get 20% differential for a reason. Folks remedy this by taking things a step slower, drink lots of water, herbal tea, and be mindful that you are on top of the Andes. There is a good U.S. style clinic. However, anything involved will require medevac to Miami. - Sep 2, 2016
Our med unit is good and the hospital, though utilitarian, is ok too. - Jun 9, 2015
The high altitude is a big concern especially if you have a condition that would be affected by it. If you get pregnant, you are strongly encouraged to leave post. - Apr 6, 2015
The altitude poses a serious health concern and causes plenty of people to curtail. Pregnant women are medevaced pretty much immediately and lots of people have problems with high blood pressure. Medical care is abysmal for anything but the most routine things. - Nov 8, 2014
The very high altitude can cause some problems and exacerbate existing health conditions. Most folks need a few months to really adjust to the lack of oxygen which can cause fatigue, headaches and shortness of breath. Some people find it interferes with sleep and digestion for most of their tour, others adapt fairly well. It's almost impossible to know in advance and adjustment is not necessarily based on your age, general health or fitness level. Food and water-borne illness is pretty common as are upper respiratory infections. It seems to take longer to recover from just about anything, even a strenuous workout. There is a good health unit led by a FS Nurse Practitioner and supported with a locally contracted U.S. doctor that visits a few days a week. There are some decent quality local doctors for routine care but any really serious conditions require medevac to Miami. Pregnancy is not advised here due to very high risk at altitude-this will usually warrant curtailment. Dental care is good and reasonably priced. - Jan 1, 2014
It is very common to lose 15-30 pounds in your first 6 months due to the altitude and the questionable food. High blood pressure is common. When you do get sick with a cold or flu, it will last 3 times longer. The words "Bolivian Belly" are used on a daily basis. - Jul 22, 2013
The high altitude causes most people to be sick for a while after arriving. High blood pressure is an issue for some people who have never had the problem before living here, and it is due to the altitude. When you get a cold, it takes 3 times as long to recover from it. The embassy health unit does a great job, but as far as healthcare away from the embassy is concerned, you will probably have to go to Miami for anything serious. - Jun 22, 2013
Medical is BAD, for everything you go to Miami. High altitude so high blood pressure is an issue. - Jul 20, 2012
Many, especially food related. - Feb 9, 2012
Altitude is a huge problem, La Paz is not recommended if you have asthma, high blood pressure or during pregnancy. Food and water borne illnesses are very common. The altitude can also effect normal digestion. - Aug 7, 2011
The altitude is the worst. Takes awhile to get used to and you never fully get used to it. But we manage. If you have respiratory or heart problems, think twice about coming here. Mostly, many people feel drained, have some sleep issues, get sick twice as much and colds takes about three times to recover. There is also a lot of tummy trouble here with I suspect is the water. My boss is always saying that the 25% differentialisn't free we do earn every penny. It is such a nice break to go lower and when you return to sea level, you feel like superman and you sleep like a baby (makes trips to Arica Chile so much fun beach, sea level, and McDonalds!).One benefit is that you can lose weight without diet and exercise here as your body has to work twice as hard just to breathe. Relax!The health unit will issue an oxygen tank when you first arrive and they have oxygen even at the airport if you feel quezzy after you get off the airplane (The Airport is actually at an elevation higher than the city of La Paz). - May 27, 2011
A lot of health concerns. You have to rinse the fruits and vegetables with clorox for 30 min to eliminate all the bacteria or viruses. Stomach problems are incredibly common and due to the altitude,it is very difficult to breath. This place is dangerous for people with high blood pressure or heart problems. Medical care is not the best. Poor. - May 26, 2011
The biggest health concern here is the altitude. It can cause issues with breathing and restless sleepless nights. Also it is highly recommended not to drink the water here, only buy bottled or have a water distiller. Stomach problems abound here also, and avoid salads at the restaurants. The health unit at the Embassy is good, and there are a few hospitals recommended in the area. Dentists I am not sure about, I recommend that a person ask around to other families which dentist to use. - Mar 14, 2011
Medical care is poor. If you have a heart condition or high blood pressure, I recommend that you not come here. If you get pregnant here, you will be medically evacuated. - Aug 25, 2010
Both my girls were born here and it was completely fine. For more complicated things people who can afford it go to Chile or Buenos Aires - Jan 7, 2010
Medical care for us is through the embassy health unit. There are US-trained doctors and dentists who are generally OK. Serious medical issues are evacuated to Miami. The altitude can cause problems for some. - Aug 21, 2009