Health Concerns FAQ

Why does it seem like the answers I read in Alert Diver are so conservative? You advise caution for medical issues I would never give a second thought to when participating in other activities such as skiing, tennis, basketball or exercising at the gym. It seems like your organization is afraid for anyone but the healthiest people to dive.
Many divers have medical conditions and/or take medications and enjoy diving without any problems. DAN's role is to provide information based on the available literature and prevailing expert opinions in diving medicine, not to decide who is allowed or prohibited from diving. We advise divers (and potential divers) and their doctors so they can make thoughtful and informed decisions about diving. Sometimes DAN recommends that divers or potential divers be evaluated by a physician who has special training in diving medicine.

Hazards exist in the diving environment that are not present in most other recreational activities. If someone playing basketball gets dizzy or short of breath, he or she can easily stop the activity and rest. If a medical emergency arises, emergency medical services are readily available. The underwater world, however, is unforgiving, and problems can increase the risk of drowning. Shortness of breath, for example, does not always resolve with rest while underwater because of the increased resistance involved in breathing through a regulator. It is important to remember that when scuba diving we are using life-support equipment to explore an environment not conducive to human survival.
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