Scuba diving can put one at risk for pressure injuries. It is important to note that the body is impaired if unable to adjust to the increasing and decreasing pressure of the water as compressed air is breathed in. The changes in pressure can result to injuries during descent and while ascending.
Common pressure injuries in scuba diving
It is important to note that pressure injuries in scuba diving can be mild. In some cases, though, they can result to serious issues or even death.
This condition occurs if the tissues close to the air-filled spaces of the body such as the sinuses, ears, dental roots and the lungs are damaged if the body could not equalize pressure with the surrounding water.
As one descends, the water pressure rises and the volume of air in the body drops. This can trigger issues such as a ruptured eardrum or sinus pain. During ascent, the water pressure drops and the air in the lungs expands. This can cause the rupture of the air sacs in the lungs and result to difficulty breathing.
This occurs if ascending rapidly while scuba diving. It is important to note that divers inhale compressed air containing nitrogen that goes into the tissues at high pressure while under water. This does not trigger any issues if the diver is in the water. If the diver rises to the surface properly, nitrogen can slowly and safely leave the body via the lungs.
In case the diver rises rapidly, the nitrogen forms bubbles in the body. This causes damage to the tissues and nerves. In severe cases, it can lead to paralysis or even death if the bubbles enter the brain.
Deep scuba diving causes excess buildup of nitrogen in the brain that cause confusion and acting as if drinking alcohol. The individual makes poor decisions such as removing the regulator since the individual thinks he/she can breathe underwater. The condition typically occurs only during dives of more than 100 feet.
Disclaimer / More Information
The information posted on this page on pressure injuries during scuba diving is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to manage environmental emergencies, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Surrey, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.