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Three Common Diving Disorders and Their Symptoms

Board certified in emergency medicine, Dr. Samuel “Sam” Gerson received his MD from Cornell Medical College. He honed his skills at such health care facilities as the University of California San Diego Medical Center and New York Presbyterian Hospital. Sam Gerson, MD, also takes interest in diving and hyperbaric medicine and has been certified in the field since 2013.
Approximately 3 million people participate in recreational scuba diving each year. While the likelihood of experiencing an injury is quite rare, the ability to find a medical professional trained to treat diving injuries is even more challenging. Therefore, it is important for a divers to be able to recognize symptoms of diving disorders to ensure they seek the proper medical attention.
The following are common diving disorders people experience.
1. Inner ear barotrauma causes dizziness and hearing loss. This condition derives from the inability to balance pressure in the middle ear and the outside water pressure, also known as clearing the ears.
2. A person experiencing arterial gas embolism will notice signs of numbness, chest pain, tingling, and blurred vision. It disrupts heart and brain circulation, which can also lead to loss of consciousness. This occurs when gas bubbles enter the arterial bloodstream through damaged pulmonary vessels.
3. Decompression sickness negatively impacts the brain, lungs, and spinal cord. This problem is much like arterial gas embolism, but happens upon ascending too quickly to the surface of the water. If a diver fails to stop at various depths to decompress, nitrogen gas forms bubbles within the body tissue and blocks blood vessels.
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