The most common medical issues encountered while scuba diving
Fortunately, serious medical problems in recreational scuba divers are uncommon. While millions of dives take place in the United States each year, only about 90 deaths are reported globally. Furthermore, only about 1,000 divers worldwide require re-compression therapy to treat serious dive-related health problems.
What is the concept of recreational scuba diving?
Pleasure diving to a depth of up to 130 feet without decompression stops is referred to as recreational scuba diving. In the last 20 years, recreational scuba diving has increased in popularity. In the United States alone, there are almost 9 million qualified divers.
Divers of all ages, from beginners to veterans, can obtain instruction from a number of scuba certification agencies. The Technical Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI), and Scuba Schools International are three of these organizations (SSI). Basic courses consist of teaching methods as well as pool and open water preparation. The most common courses last between four and eight weeks.
What are the most common medical issues associated with scuba diving?
Simple “squeezes” are the most common medical problems. During descent, these can have an impact on your middle ear or face mask. Ear damage can be caused by squeezes. The pain is caused by the pressure difference between your ears and mask, as well as increased water pressure as you go deeper into the water. Squeezes affecting the inner ear or sinuses are uncommon.
Contact with fish and other marine animals, some types of coral, and hazards like exposed sharp metal on wrecks or fishing line can all result in cuts, scrapes, and other injuries to the arms and legs.
Is it possible to be seriously injured while scuba diving?
Yes, actually. The most serious medical issues are pulmonary barotrauma and decompression sickness, also known as “the bends.”
When you rise to the surface of the water (ascent), the gas within the lungs expands, damaging the surrounding body tissues. These lung injuries can be severe enough to cause lung collapse in some divers (pneumothorax). Free air bubbles can also enter the bloodstream as a result of the injuries. This is referred to as an arterial gas embolism. Chest pain, breathing problems, and neurologic problems such as stroke are all common symptoms of arterial gas embolism.
During ascent and on the surface of the sea, decompression sickness occurs. Inert nitrogen gas, which is dissolved in body tissues and blood, escapes and forms bubbles in the blood. The bubbles have the potential to cause damage to different body tissues as well as to obstruct blood vessels. Dysfunction of the spinal cord, brain, and lungs are the most common symptoms of serious decompression sickness.
How can I reduce my chances of having medical problems as a result of diving?
The majority of serious dive-related injuries and deaths occur among novice divers. To be safe, you must dive within your level of experience and training.
If you’re not sure about a dive, don’t do it. You should gently equalize your ears and mask as you descend. Never dive beyond the limits of the dive tables or your dive computer at depth.
When rising, do not hold your breath. Always take it slowly and breathe naturally as you progress.
Familiarize yourself with the underwater environment and its hazards. To avoid accidents, learn which fish, coral, and other dangers to avoid.
Underwater, you should never panic. If you become confused or afraid during a dive, come to a halt, try to relax, and think about the problem. You can also ask your dive buddy or dive master for assistance.
In the scenario of a diving emergency, what can I do?
If you or one of your diving buddies has an accident while diving, call an ambulance immediately. If you have concerns about a possible diving-related health issue call the Divers Alert Network(DAN). Doctors, emergency medical technicians, and nurses are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They will refer you to a hyperbaric chamber or other appropriate medical facility if necessary. A hyperbaric chamber is a facility where you are exposed to elevated pressure, similar to that found underwater. By diminishing bubbles and allowing them to move into the blood vessels, this can also help injury from arterial gas embolism or decompression sickness.
I’d like to learn more about recreational scuba diving and dive medicine.
You can read more informational or first-person stories on our website like how to choose a good diving instructor or how to increase your monthly income with scuba diving. Or go to PADI: Professional Association of Diving Instructors official website and learn more about scuba diving or arrange a diving course.
Thank you for reading.