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mcintoro
12-16-2008, 18:43
Anyone have any info/stories on asthma and diving. I have read where it is a concern but wondering if anyone can share,,,after all people with asthma have went to the Olympics

Roughwater
12-16-2008, 19:54
Hi,

Just helped a diver complete their O.W. course last week, and she has Asthma. From what I'm aware, it depends on whether it's controllable or not.

In her case, if she takes one puff from her ventilin then she can go and excersise without worrying about an attack. If not - then she risks an attack. So - in this scenario, she can control her asthma by "taking a puff" before each dive, and was cleared by her doctor.

Don't konw about other cases though. Hope this helps.

tndiverdude
12-16-2008, 20:22
Most asthmatics can dive safely with any inhaler, Alupent, Ventalin etc.
Pretty much most asthmatics can tell if its safe to go or not. they become in tune, like a diabetic as to what is happening.
What I wonder though is when an asthatic gets into colder water and begins to suck air fast and hard doe sthe medication ahve enough oomph to prevent a complication?
I know when I went into cold water I sucked air and came up with a sore throat and headache. And I am nto asthmatic.

jimmy

mcintoro
12-16-2008, 20:26
I have asthma and did my first 5 dives in cold water without any issues. I am able to control mine and often spend 1 hour in a spin class without having to use it. Thanks for the replies, I am always interested in reading about it you never know when you will recognize a sign of a problem

Sansho
12-16-2008, 21:40
If you haven't read any articles on the DAN website, here are a few about asthma:

DAN Divers Alert Network : Asthma & Diving (http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/medical/articles/article.asp?articleid=22)
DAN Divers Alert Network (http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/medical/faq/faq.aspx?faqid=124)
DAN Divers Alert Network : Guide to Health & Fitness in Scuba Diving (http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/medical/articles/article.asp?articleid=12)

OTGav
12-17-2008, 21:17
A year or so back I had to go through the whole testing process for asthma+scuba.

I was given ventalin as a 16 year old and used it for sport and when I was sick ever since. But not on a daily or even monthly basis. Spoke to the doctor about another issue and happened to mention my asthma as I hadn't got any ventalin (or used any for 6 montsh) and diving and she came out with the "You can't dive, you have asthma".

I instictively knew that wasn't that case as I had been diving a few times without any sort of problems - but the club I dive with is very strong on saftey so I knew I had to get some kind of certainty before I went out with them again just to be fair on them.

3 months, 2 more doctors, and a set of tests and I was back in the water. Turned out I didn't have asthma, or at least not asthma that they could induce with a histamine challlenge. Saved me some cash on getting ventalin too - which is nice ;o)

The asthma like results on breath tests (can't empty lung as quick as the dive doctor would like) turns out to be due to oversized lungs - so all along I was told I has asthama and thought I had asthma when it was just a bit of a brochitis from time to time + big lungs.

Get yourself to a Dive doctor, not a regular doctor, and go through the process - it's not an area where you can say one way or the other until you run the tests as everyone's symptoms are different. Some asthmatics are fine, some shouldn't dive.

As a side note the cold thing is more of a worry for those with asthma due to the cold air causing the bronchia to close up (probably says this in the DAN reports) - so it's not so much the demand on air from breathing hard (as that could be the case in a strong current) it's the cold's effect on the lung itself.

Hope that helps - and offers a bit of hope, I know I was completely bummed when I got the "can't dive" speech at first.

Judge
12-18-2008, 07:04
Even when I am having a bad day with my asthma, a good dive straightens me out. The filtered tank seems to do the trick (I have actually hooked my gear up in the house and in half hour I am breathing fine w/o my inhaler).
My Dr put me through a miserable stress test before signing off. I have dove as cold as 38degrees and as warm as 82, wet and dry suits.

Otter
12-19-2008, 12:11
You can call or e-mail the DAN Medical Hotline and they can give you names of doctors in your area. They're regular doctors that are specialists in dive medicine. You don't need to be a DAN member for this service.
Different things can trigger asthma, they can find out what yours is and tell you if it's effected by diving.

Lulubelle
12-19-2008, 15:15
Second the comments about the absolute necessity of seeing a DAN physician and discussing this. Asthma is one of the most difficult conditions in terms of diving compatibility and it all depends on severity and control. If you require frequent use of a prn inhaler (on top of inhaled steroids which are usually used as a "base" treatment if you will) it may not be safe for you to dive or there may need to be some limits such as depth limits that would allow for a safer CESA. If you have an attack under the water, you can't take your prn inhaler there and it could get ugly.

See the DAN doc.

mcintoro
12-19-2008, 17:46
Thanks for all of the great advise I will be looking up the DAN website and discussing just in case.

Lulubelle
12-19-2008, 19:08
Anyone have any info/stories on asthma and diving. I have read where it is a concern but wondering if anyone can share,,,after all people with asthma have went to the Olympics

Hi Mcintoro,

This is an old piece, but it explains very well what the physiological risks are when diving with asthma and also gives scenarios as to what a particular person's asthma history might mean in terms of their diving risk. Hope it is helpful but certainly can't stand in place of a dive doc talking to you.

http://www.lakesidepress.com/pulmonary/books/scuba/asthma.htm

It isn't a question of athleticism, well controlled asthmatics can be great athletes. But none of them are deep which is where the risk lives for an asthmatic.

It may be that a good doc can get you to a place where you don't need a prn inhaler at all which would lower your risk profile while diving dramatically.

Good luck

mcintoro
12-20-2008, 19:14
excellent article thanks for it.

calwolf
12-22-2008, 16:08
I had (have?) asthma and dive. Initially, was doing the "1 puff from inhaler before diving" approach, since I wasn't on any kind of daily medication. What really changed for me was when I read a book on a way to control asthma without medication. What I thought would turn out to be some kind of quack science has really changed my life. I went from using my inhaler several times per week to several times per year (if that). Anyway, there's this respiratory physiologist guy (Buteyko) who has a weird explanation for what causes many cases of asthma (basically breathing too much, affecting the body's CO2 "set point", or something like that). I've discussed his ideas with a few doctors, who basically say he's not likely to be right on, but his methods may work anyway for some other reason.

Anyway, for anyone with asthma, there's a method out there that may help to control it without meds.

(disclaimer: I'm no doc, and while it worked for me, maybe it's just a placebo thing, and won't work for anyone else, blah blah).

Here are a couple links, 1st to a wikipedia desciption of the method and 2nd to the book that cured my asthma pretty much overnight (Amazon listing):

Buteyko method - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buteyko_method)

Amazon.com: Asthma-Free Naturally: Everything You Need to Know to Take Control of Your Asthma: Patrick McKeown: Books (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1573243728?ie=UTF8&tag=1234567890059-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1573243728)

mcintoro
12-23-2008, 18:47
Thanks. I have sort of the same situation as you described. Ill be sure to check out your articles. Once again thanks everyone for the great info,,,,glad I joined

LCF
12-24-2008, 23:32
The big problem with asthma for divers is that asthma is a process of airway obstruction, both from constriction of smooth muscle around the airways, and from inflammation and mucous inside them. And the biggest issue is exhaling, because when you exhale, the small passages tend to collapse, trapping air behind them. That air, as you ascend, will expand, with nowhere to exit. This can lead to arterial gas embolism, which is often lethal.

It can be difficult for an individual to assess the degree of airway obstruction that he or she has. Certainly, anyone who is symptomatic with audible wheezing or a prolonged expiratory phase should not be diving. In fact, the recommendation is usually that, unless you are asymptomatic on maintenance medications (not requiring a rescue inhaler) you should avoid diving altogether. Rescue inhalers are fast-acting and short-acting, and if you need to use one to be breathing well enough to dive, you run a very real risk that the medication will not persist well enough to keep your airways open until the end of your dive, and the ascent, which is your time of biggest risk.

I'd highly recommend reading the DAN articles, and if you have any doubts about whether your asthma is well enough controlled to be safe while diving, consult a knowledgeable pulmonologist and get some pulmonary function testing done.

chet
04-21-2009, 00:42
I have asthma and did my first 5 dives in cold water without any issues. I am able to control mine and often spend 1 hour in a spin class without having to use it. Thanks for the replies, I am always interested in reading about it you never know when you will recognize a sign of a problem
do you carry ventolin when you dive..if so how do you store it...I would like to take my inhaler with me when I dive just in case I need it...I could surface then use it ...but how do I take it with me underwater? Does anyone know the answer to this question? I ..like some of you rarely ever need to use it..just finished 30 or so dives in 34 degree water without incident. Would taking a puff or two before diving be adequate? I would rather not use it unless I have to as this has only happened once in 6 months and I can tell if it is coming on so if I'm underwater I will have time to surface and then use the inhaler. Is there a waterproof container to put it in?

wgt
04-21-2009, 07:08
If you cannot find a key case large enough to house an inhaler, why not use the shell of a small dive light with the batteries removed or perhaps a cheapo camera housing?!

Please note that these suggestions, while intended to be helpful, are not to be considered as endorsements of any particular person diving with an asthmatic condition.



I have asthma and did my first 5 dives in cold water without any issues. I am able to control mine and often spend 1 hour in a spin class without having to use it. Thanks for the replies, I am always interested in reading about it you never know when you will recognize a sign of a problem
do you carry ventolin when you dive..if so how do you store it...I would like to take my inhaler with me when I dive just in case I need it...I could surface then use it ...but how do I take it with me underwater? Does anyone know the answer to this question? I ..like some of you rarely ever need to use it..just finished 30 or so dives in 34 degree water without incident. Would taking a puff or two before diving be adequate? I would rather not use it unless I have to as this has only happened once in 6 months and I can tell if it is coming on so if I'm underwater I will have time to surface and then use the inhaler. Is there a waterproof container to put it in?

kat
04-26-2009, 22:13
I know of an asthmatic diver who would dive every weekend if possible. Before his doctor would sign his physical forms, he had to go through a variety of intense tests - tread mill, and so on. What is interesting is that if he exerts himself in sports he does have the asthma problems, but when diving he has not had a problem at all, even when he dives many times a day.

cummings66
04-27-2009, 20:03
One of my buddies with Asthma will take her steroid right before diving as a preventative measure. I trust her to know when she's safe to dive and not, and she has called dives when to all outward appearances she seems fine. So, IMO you know your body best and if you've had this for a long time then you know when you're not up to par better than any doctor would.