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Home » Respiratory Conditions

Asthma and Scuba Diving: Can I Scuba Dive if I Have Asthma?

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If you enjoy this post, please share it using the buttons to your right >>, or email it to a friend, we'd really appreciate it! You can also get natural health articles delivered free by email or RSS - AND get a free mini-course on the Healing Art of Reflexology!


Asthma and Scuba Diving: Can I Scuba Dive if I Have Asthma?Asthma affects 1 in 15 students and approximately that same number of adults. During an asthmatic attack the alveoli (tiny air sacs) in the lungs inflate with a poor ability to deflate. This makes the lungs over inflate with air that no longer carries fresh oxygen causing an oxygen debt in the sufferer. The asthmatic is gasping for air although their lungs are over inflated with air.

Traditionally asthma and scuba diving was contraindicated. It was believed that the asthma sufferer would be at greater risk for an air embolism often resulting in death. The increased risk was from the air trapping associated with the constrictive airway disease. What does all that mean? It meant that all asthmatics wouldn't be medically cleared to scuba dive.

Recently the United Kingdom Sport Diving Medical Committee released a new recommendation. Physicians no longer felt that all asthmatics were at risk for asthma scuba diving risks and asthma was no longer an absolute contraindication.

Instead they issued recommendations for asthma scuba diving intended to lower the risk and potentially allow more sufferers to enjoy the sport. Some of the risk of scuba diving is associated with the isolation of the sport. Once an asthmatic gets into trouble while scuba diving it is difficult to reach a medical center from an isolated location.

The recommendations for asthma sufferers who wish to scuba dive include evaluating the type of asthma and the treatment that the potential diver is undergoing. Asthmatics who generally respond poorly to exercise, cold or stress should never scuba dive. During a dive the participant can be exposed to all three events cold water, stressful situations and exercise.

Asthmatics who require rescue medication routinely or who have used it within 48 hours of the dive should not dive. The requirement for rescue medication increases the risk for barotraumas potentially leading to air embolism. Asthmatics who use steroids or bronchodilators may dive however.

The recommendations also include allowing mild to moderate asthmatics with normal screening spirometry who can be considered candidates for asthma scuba diving. Participants should always be told of the risks so that they can make a the decision for themselves if they are in fact medically cleared to dive.

Research conducted and reported in the French journal Revue Des Maladies Respiratoire and in Sports Medicine scientists also agree that divers who suffer from asthma can suffer from baratrauma if they suffer from more than mild asthma or require rescue medication within the previous 48 hours.

Asthma scuba diving isn't out of the question it only requires more care and screening to evaluate the risk potential to the diver under stressful and isolated conditions. Scuba diving is an individual activity that is fun, exciting and challenging. Suffering from asthma doesn't totally rule out the potential for scuba diving.

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Asthma and Scuba Diving: Can I Scuba Dive if I Have Asthma?If you enjoy this post, please share it using the buttons to your right >>, or email it to a friend, we'd really appreciate it! You can also get natural health articles delivered free by email or RSS - AND get a free mini-course on the Healing Art of Reflexology!


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