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Can I Scuba Dive with Asthma?

Can I Scuba Dive with Asthma?

ANSWER:

You should not scuba dive with asthma without clearance from your physician.

Scuba diving is dangerous.

How dangers could be exacerbated by asthma.

Risk also depends on the type of diving that you are doing.  Those that dive recreationally in shallow, tropical waters are at less of a risk of a diving injury than those that dive in cold, dark waters at a greater depth. [@]

The leading cause of death for the average recreational SCUBA diver is drowning.  Drowning can occur due to inexperience and panic, but is most often due to cardiovascular incidences.

All divers should have adequate training, equipment, and dive planning.

You are at less of a risk of a diving injury

[@] International Sport Medical Journal
The Medical Risks of Underwater Diving and Their Control
2006, Volume 7, No. 1, pages 1-15
http://www.ismj.com/files/311417173/ismj%20pdfs/Vol_7_No_1_2006/PGRisks%20of%20Underwater%20Divingfinal.pdf

Your physician who knows your personal medical history is the best to advise if you can scuba dive with asthma.

 

The research and literature available on the topic of scuba diving and asthma is relatively sparse and not completely definitive.  Here are a few opinions on the subject from professional journals.

What Are the Dangers of Scuba Diving with Asthma?

Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA, USA

According to the researchers from the Department of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology, The Pennsylvania State University, “under the right circumstances, the patient with asthma can safely participate in recreational diving without apparent increased risk of an asthma-related event”.  The systematic review is published in the October 2005 issue of the journal Clinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology

Davies, MJ, LH Fisher, S Chegini, and TJ Craig. “Asthma and the Diver.” Clinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology 29.2 (2005): 131-138. Print.

University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Researchers from the Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Centre, Department of Family Practice and the School of Human Kinetics, published a systematic review in the journal Sports Medicine advising greater caution citing weak evidence that scuba diving may cause a decrease in airway conductivity and may increase the risk of pulmonary barotraumas among other things.  The paper concluded that “decisions regarding diving participation among asthmatics must be made on an individual basis involving the patient through informed, shared decision making.”

Koehle, M, R Lloyd-Smith, D McKenzie, and J Taunton. “Asthma and recreational SCUBA diving: a systematic review.” Sports Medicine 33.2 (2003): 109-116. Print.

Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel

The researchers from the Department of Medicine ‘T’, Sourasky Medical Center, reviewed the current literature and stated that though there is an increased risk of pulmonary barotraumas,  the risk is relatively small. This group of researchers concluded, “Thus, under the right circumstances, patients with asthma can safely participate in recreational diving without any apparent increased risk of an asthma-related event”.

Sade, K, O Wiesel, S Kivity, and Y Levo. “Asthma and scuba diving: can asthmatic patients dive?.” Harefuah 146.4 (2007): 286-290. Print.

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