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Dive Too Deep

What Happens If You Dive Too Deep And Come Up Too Fast?

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Decompression sickness, popularly known as “the bends,” occurs when divers ascend too quickly from a dive too deep, causing dissolved nitrogen gas bubbles to develop in the bloodstream and tissues. 

This can cause various symptoms, ranging from modest joint discomfort and exhaustion to severe and fatal problems such as paralysis or brain damage. 

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Divers must understand the causes of decompression sickness and adhere to correct dive planning and ascent techniques to avoid this condition. To learn about techniques Dive Without Being Crushed, read our article.

Facts, Causes, And Solutions If You Dive Too Deep And Come Up Too Fast?

These outcomes result from dive too deep and rising too quickly:

1- Causes Of Decompression Sickness

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The primary cause of decompression sickness is the production of nitrogen bubbles in the bloodstream and tissues due to a rapid rise from a dive too deep. 

The pressure around a diver increases as they descend, allowing nitrogen to disperse into the bloodstream. The amount of nitrogen absorbed increases with dive depth and duration. 

When the diver ascends too quickly, the pressure drops, and the nitrogen produces bubbles in the circulation and tissues, causing the bends. 

Several factors can contribute to the risk of decompression sickness, including:

  • Dive depth: The deeper the dive, the more nitrogen is taken into the bloodstream, increasing the danger of decompression sickness.
  • Duration of the dive: The longer the dive, the more time the nitrogen has to dissolve into the circulation, raising the risk of decompression sickness.
  • Rate of ascent: The faster the ascent, the less time the nitrogen has to be safely expelled from the body, raising the danger of decompression sickness.
  • Diving history: Divers who have recently done several dives or have an account of decompression sickness are at a higher risk.
  • Age: Specific studies have shown that older divers are more susceptible to decompression sickness.
  • Health conditions: Obesity, heart disease, and lung disease are some medical issues.

2- Symptoms of Decompression Sickness

The symptoms of decompression sickness can vary depending on the severity of the condition. Mild symptoms may include joint pain, fatigue, and a feeling of malaise. However, more severe symptoms can include:

  • Skin itchiness and rashes
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness and vertigo
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Paralysis
  • Brain damage and unconsciousness

Symptoms may not develop for several hours after the dive in extreme circumstances. Some symptoms can be mild but can progress to severe ones, so it is essential not to ignore any signs or symptoms.

Divers must be aware of the signs and symptoms of decompression sickness and seek medical assistance quickly if they feel they are suffering from the bends. 

3- Prevention Of Decompression Sickness

One of the most critical safety precautions for divers is to follow a dive table or computer, which determines the optimum ascent rate based on the depth and duration of the dive.

These tables or computers consider the amount of nitrogen the body takes during the dive and the time required for the nitrogen to be safely removed. 

During the dive, it is essential to come to a safe stop. This is a three-minute pause at a depth of five to six meters, during which the diver should stay at that depth to allow any residual nitrogen to be released. 

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Divers should also avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, and flying after diving because these behaviors increase the risk of decompression sickness.

Finally, divers should always keep a diving diary and submit accurate information to their diving professionals. This includes information on their dive history, previous experiences of decompression sickness, and any medical issues they may have. 

This information can assist the diving professional in altering the dive plan and tables accordingly, as well as better assess the danger of decompression sickness.

4- Treatment Of Decompression Sickness

The first step in treating decompression sickness is sending the diver to a medical center as soon as possible. Treatment for the bends can include:

  • Oxygen therapy is the most widely used treatment to help eliminate the nitrogen bubbles in the bloodstream. In a hyperbaric chamber or through a mask, oxygen treatment can be given.
  • Recompression in a hyperbaric chamber: This treatment involves placing the diver in a chamber where the pressure can be controlled, allowing the nitrogen bubbles to be compressed and eliminated. This is said to be the best remedy for decompression sickness.
  • Medications: Ibuprofen and other medications help lessen pain and inflammation. To aid with symptom relief, anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers might be used.
  • Surgery: Surgery may be required in extreme situations. It’s crucial to remember that the sooner therapy begins, the better the results will be.

It’s important to note that some treatments may be more effective depending on the type and severity of the symptoms and the patient’s medical history. 

Conclusion

Decompression sickness is a serious disease that can develop when divers rise from a dive too deep rapidly. It is essential for divers to understand the causes of the bends and to follow proper dive planning and ascent protocols to avoid this condition. 

Divers should know the warning indications of this illness so they can get medical help if they think they’ve contracted the bends.

Divers can lower their risk of decompression sickness and enjoy their dives safely with good planning and safety precautions. Likewise, it is crucial to acknowledge that prevention is always better than treatment.

FAQS

What is decompression sickness, and what causes it?

When divers ascend too rapidly after a dive too deep, they risk developing decompression sickness, popularly known as “the bends,” due to the formation of nitrogen gas bubbles in their blood and tissues.

This can lead to various symptoms, from mild joint pain and fatigue to severe and potentially life-threatening conditions such as paralysis or brain damage. 

The leading cause of decompression sickness is the formation of nitrogen bubbles in the bloodstream and tissues due to a rapid ascent from a dive too deep.

Can decompression sickness be treated?

Yes, decompression sickness is treatable. The first step in treating decompression sickness is sending the diver to a medical center as soon as possible. 

Oxygen treatment, recompression in a hyperbaric chamber, and drugs to decrease discomfort and inflammation can all be used to treat the bends. 

The most commonly used treatment is oxygen therapy, which is used to help remove nitrogen bubbles in the bloodstream. The diver is placed in a hyperbaric room where the pressure may be adjusted, allowing the nitrogen bubbles to be compressed and eliminated.

Is there a way to reduce the risk of this sickness?

Yes, divers can reduce the risk of decompression sickness by following proper dive planning and ascent protocols. 

This includes using dive tables or computers to calculate the recommended ascent rate, making safety stops at the end, avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol before and after diving, and being aware of one’s dive history and health conditions. 

Divers should also know the warning signs of the bends, or decompression sickness, and get medical help right once if they experience any of them.

By following these safety protocols, divers can reduce the risk of decompression sickness and enjoy their dives safely.

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