Panoramic views of fantastic coral reefs, majestic and frightening shipwrecks and extraordinary marine life are the main attractions for dive lovers. But it’s important to remember the dangers of scuba diving, as some are potentially life threatening.
Health problems that may arise from diving
Divers usually dive into the ocean by pinching their nose and blowing air through the ear to push more air into the middle ear.
Barotrauma occurs when a diver rises and falls too fast while holding his breath, causing the gas in the middle ear and lungs to expand very quickly. This is the result of failing to balance the drastic pressure difference between the body and the surrounding environment. As a result, divers experience severe ear pain and damage to ear tissue and lungs.
These lung injuries can be bad enough to cause lung collapse (pneumothorax). Injury can also allow free air bubbles to escape into the bloodstream. This is called an arterial gas embolism. Arterial gas embolism often causes chest pain, difficulty breathing, and neurological problems such as stroke.
Vertigo, or feeling lightheaded or unsteady, is one of the serious symptoms of barotrauma. The sensation of a spinning head can be dangerous when experienced underwater as it can easily lead to disorientation.
The best way to avoid this dangerous situation in the water is not to dive if you have a headache, chills or untreated allergies. When this happens, the treatment for diving-related vertigo usually involves staying at home, although sometimes headache medication is needed.
Ringing ears (Tinnitus)
Tinnitus is the condition of constant ringing in the ears, and, as with vertigo, if you dive in with a headache or other ear problem, you could be at risk for this.
When you descend into the depths of the ocean, the external water pressure squeezes the air in the ear canal, causing a feeling of pressure and pain in the head and ears. You will have to equalize the pressure in this chamber by various methods, such as pinching your nostrils while gently blowing your nose.
If you do this correctly, you can withstand the increased pressure without any problems. However, sinus congestion caused by a cold, flu, or, allergies will interfere with your ability to equalize pressure and can result in damage to your eardrums.
If you dive in cold water, hypothermia is your main risk. Shivering is your body’s response to lowering body temperature and one of the early symptoms of hypothermia; You should end your dive if you start to shiver.
The best way to prevent hypothermia and most of the other health risks associated with scuba diving is to use the right equipment and dive with a professional guide. Wear appropriate, thick, quality diving clothing and equipment, especially in cold waters. Adequate head covering is also important because the head represents an area of the body that has the potential to lose a lot of body heat.
Decompression sickness is a medical condition caused by the accumulation of dissolved nitrogen in the body after diving, which then forms air bubbles that block the blood flow and the nervous system.
Depending on the amount of nitrogen absorbed and where it is located, cases of decompression can range from aching joints or skin rashes to numbness, paralysis and death. The most common signs of severe decompression sickness are dysfunction of the spinal cord, brain, and lungs.
Another danger associated with nitrogen is the narcotic effect of all the extra nitrogen stores in the body. Anyone who has ever had nitric oxide anesthetic at the dentist will be familiar with this effect. Nitrogen anesthesia in high concentrations is dangerous because it can impair common sense and sensory perception. As with decompression sickness, the level of nitrogen anesthesia is related to how deep you dive and how much nitrogen your body absorbs.