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Age Related Scuba Diving Risks

Submitted by admin on 2009-07-27

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Scuba diving is a very popular pastime for people of all ages, but as we grow older, should we be aware of the potential risks which increase with each passing year?

With the advent of easier travel, more and more people are deciding to become certified so they can dive in the countries they visit. As a high proportion of the people taking up scuba diving are older, due to the lack of constraints and more available income to use for pleasure pursuits, it is probably a good idea that they should also make themselves aware of the possible inherent dangers.

Scuba diving can offer a range of rare challenges to the person who travels to participate, as not all medical staff is trained in the diagnosis or treatment of dive related health issues. It is therefore recommended that anyone taking part in scuba diving, acquaint themselves with the symptoms that are likely to cause a problem and to make sure that any treatment they may require is readily available.

As we age, the likelihood that we are going to suffer from certain health issues, increases. Diabetes, asthma or other respiratory conditions, anxiety, recent surgery or injuries we have sustained, any change in the status of our health, all that can put us at greater risk for dive-related sickness. You should be more cautious if there is any family history of heart problems.

Seek immediate medical attention if a diver presents with any kind of respiratory distress, or neurological symptoms after completing a dive. While it isn’t common, injuries caused by over inflation of the lung can present as something mild ranging through to life threatening. As the diver ascends, if the air in the lungs isn’t expressed on the way it can stretch the tissue of the lung beyond its capacity and allow gas bubbles to enter other areas of the body. This can cause the collapse of a lung, or a form of emphysema, or even an arterial gas embolism, which can be deadly.

As these symptoms can occur to any individual, despite their age, we all know that the older we are and the less fit we are, the more we put ourselves at risk.

On the flip side of the coin is the potential for accidents in the very young who are involved in diving. While it is a wonderful sport to become involved in, it also bears noting that the younger, less experienced divers, need monitoring. It is all too easy to assume the teenager who has been diving for a couple of years and has been certified as proficient is perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. But it is unlikely that a child scuba diver, no matter how good they are, has the experience or judgement to extract themselves from a potentially dangerous situation. An adult should supervise at all times to ensure the safety of any person under the age of 18.


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