The question of can you scuba dive with asthma is a tricky one to answer. There are a number of factors that can trigger an asthma attack with the main two been it allergen triggered and stress triggered. The allergy-triggered attack is less than likely to happen when breathing through filtered air from dive tanks.
Yes, you can scuba dive but this depends on the severity of your asthma. You should visit your doctor to assess if whether your asthma is controlled or not. And if you should go diving with asthma.
In today’s post, we will go through considerations and risks while trying to answer can you scuba dive with asthma in more detail, so let’s get started!
Read more on common questions asked by divers
What Is Asthma?
Asthma is a condition that affects the airways. The airways carry air in and out of your lungs. Asthma is caused by chronic inflammation and is oversensitive to certain triggers like an allergy, exercise, and stress.
Simply the reaction to the triggers causes the muscles of the tube walls to tighten up. Causing them to become narrow and leaving less room for air to flow in and out.
Then the lining of your airways starts to get swollen with sticky mucus is produced which clogs up the breathing passages. Causing difficulty breathing.
What Is Considered Severe Asthma?
Doctors classify asthma as severe by how well the symptoms respond to treatment such as inhaled corticosteroids and inhaled bronchodilator medications.
So if the treatment provided by the doctor does not work is considered severe asthma.
What Are The Triggers Of Asthma?
There are a number of triggers of asthma, these triggers are different from person to person. It can be caused by.
- Allergy to dust, pollen mold spores, dust mites, etc…
- Outdoor air pollution like factories, cars, and cities.
- Pets such as cats.
- Indoor air pollution like tobacco smoke.
- Exercising can induce asthma.
Can You Scuba Dive With Asthma?
You can go scuba diving with asthma but it depends on factors such as the temperature of the water you be diving in, the level of exercise, stress, and more.
You should remember diving is a potentially dangerous sport even to a healthy person, however, if your condition is controlled and your doctor agrees to allow you to go scuba diving. Remember the factors that might trigger asthma.
The UK Diving Medical Committee’s advice about diving with asthma gives a pretty good baseline if you want to dive with asthma, always get ask your doctor. They say if you have mild asthma you can dive if.
- That your asthma is well controlled and you do not have asthma that’s triggered by cold, exercise, stress, or emotion.
- If you haven’t needed to use a reliever inhaler.
- If you haven’t had any asthma symptoms in the previous 48 hours.
- For at least 48 hours before diving, your peak flow is within 15% of your best value.
Factors To Consider To Dive With Asthma
With diving, they are a number of factors that could trigger an asthma attack. Before going diving these factors could trigger an attack.
Cold, Dry Air To Breathe
Cold, dry air is a common asthma trigger and can cause bad attacks. When cold air gets into your airways it can trigger an asthma attack with symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath, and tightness in the chest
And if hyperventilation starts to happen during the descent, it could cause the diver’s airway to narrow.
If you are diving in cold water this could cause the air from your tank to be cold, since you will be breathing through the mouth than the nose. Your body won’t have time to warm the air before it gets to your airways.
Stress is another major trigger of asthma. When you start to get stressed this can trigger an asthma attack with symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath, and tightness in the chest.
Stress causes the body to respond by releasing certain hormones triggered by the immune system. This causes the airways to narrow.
Scuba diving can be a good workout to a strenuous workout, the problem for asthma suffers is this can trigger an asthma attack. This attack causes shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing, and coughing.
This can be managed on land with an inhaler or relaxing for a while but underwater this may not be possible.
How Deep Should You Dive If You Are Asthmatic?
If your asthma is controlled and is not triggered by cold, exercise, or stress and your lungs work normally there is no depth restriction. Assuming you have talked with your doctor. The depth recommended is no deeper than 130 feet/40 meters.
To go scuba diving you don’t need to dive to some extreme depth of 30 feet, as most divers would agree that a dive to only 12 feet can be more interesting than 100 feet.
Finally, the decision of whether to dive or not is your decision. This should be make between you and your doctor. And you should inform the dive master. Simply, if your health is good overall apart from having asthma and cold air, panic or stress is not a major trigger for you, diving can be something that you could try.
And that’s it for now! I’d love to know if this guide on can you scuba dive with asthma has helped you. Let me know if you have any questions and let me know if there is more to add.