This is an international consensus statement of an ad hoc committee formed by the International Society for Mountain Medicine (ISMM) at the VI World Congress on Mountain Medicine and High Altitude Physiology (Xining, China; 2004) and represents the committee's interpretation of the current knowledge with regard to the most common chronic and subacute high altitude diseases. It has been developed by medical and scientific authorities from the committee experienced in the recognition and prevention of high altitude diseases and is based mainly on published, peer-reviewed articles. It is intended to include all legitimate criteria for choosing to use a specific method or procedure to diagnose or manage high altitude diseases. However, the ISMM recognizes that specific patient care decisions depend on the different geographic circumstances involved in the development of each chronic high altitude disease. These guidelines are established to inform the medical services on site who are directed to solve high altitude health problems about the definition, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of the most common chronic high altitude diseases. The health problems associated with life at high altitude are well documented, but health policies and procedures often do not reflect current state-of-the-art knowledge. Most of the cases of high altitude diseases are preventable if on-site personnel identify the condition and implement appropriate care.