View Full Version : Diabetes and Diving

Panhandle Joe
09-21-2007, 18:49
Just wondering how many other divers out there are diabetic and what they have learned and can share on this topic. The medical community as a whole is not sure on a lot of issues concerning the "Diabetic Diver" The DAN magazine ren an article this past summer on the topic. I think it is known that diabetes affects the heart eventually and circulation. Given the fact that I am a Type Two insulin dependant diabetic, my diabetes is fairly easy to control. I still stay around the 35' mark for the most part. The reef diving in Florida is mostly located in that depth and with camera in hand , I stay very happy and if a problem occurs, I am at a depth that is safe for the most part to surface immediatley.

Capt Hook
09-21-2007, 19:20
Have been using insulin (lantus & novalog) since removal of a pituitary gland tumor two years ago, haven't noticed any difference, although DR. wants me to stay mostly above 2 atmospheres.

09-21-2007, 21:11
The wife wants me to get checked for Diabetes, I am a little nervous it runs in the family, being new to diving I am for sure going to ask about it when I visit

09-21-2007, 22:12
My wife is in what the docs call "pre-diabetes" translation...wait for it. I took DAN's on-line course on diving with diabetes and found it really interesting. Its free, took me about an hour and had lots of good info on the latest research.

09-23-2007, 16:34
My wife has been a type 1 diabetic for the last 37 years (she was diagnosed at 1 1/2). When she was first certified back in 1994 she was on Humulog and NPH. Diving was sketchy at best, but we managed. We'd jam her full of soda before and between dives to give her enough sugar to make the dive and most times she'd come out of the water between 100-80. A few times it was lower than that and I'd have to take charge and make sure things went right. Honestly, the lack of control over it was one of the reasons I decided to quit diving in 1996.

In 2001, my wife went on the insulin pump and boy does that change the way you do things. Instead of injecting a bunch of insulin at breakfast, you're just using it to cover what you eat and keeping a constant drip going into your body. There's still highs and lows, but since it's more micromanaged, their easier to fix.

I returned to diving last year and took her to Belize with me last summer. She made 15 or 16 dives over 5 days and never had an issue with exiting the water with a low blood sugar. Obviously, I keep an eye on her, but that's what a buddy is for.

In relation to depth and pressure, she's never been limited by her condition. Most of our dives were on walls and we'd start many of them at 90 or so feet, slowly working our way up the wall. She also made the Blue Hole dive, coming up very excited because it was her first time ever being narced. No issues whatsoever.

09-23-2007, 20:22
I'm an NIDDM (non insulin). Never had any problems in the water or on land with hypoglycemia. My husband knows what to do for me if I do and the guys we dive with all know I'm diabetic and what to do if I have problems.Of course, I take very good care of myself, being in the medical field I see all the scary things diabetes can cause if left unchecked. My doctor gave me the go ahead to dive and to begin with I checked my sugar before dives and after dives to see if I needed to run my bs up a little before diving. Which I don't.

09-23-2007, 20:50
I have hypoglycemia and as long as I don't eat anything ridiculous before hand I'm usually fine. I know many people with diabetes who dive, one is my mentor and it doesn't seem to bother him. Don't worry about it. Get it checked out and see what the doctor says...

09-24-2007, 07:47
My wife is a insulin dependant diabetic and has been on the insulin pump for the last 7 years. She is also a nurse, and I am in the medical field as well. She has never had a problem on any of our dives and keeps her emergency glucagon kit handy in her dive bag at all times. She also lets all of the others in the group know, just in case she has a problem, they are aware. I think that the only close call was when she was getting ready and almost forgot to remove her pump before getting into the water.

Just be safe and get some more education on it and you should be fine. There are a lot of resources out there on the subject, and i know she would be happy to talk to anyone on the subject if they wanted to just talk to another diver.

Scooter McFly

09-28-2007, 00:17
I am diabetic.I have been all of my life. It wasnt until I developed a diabetci abscess on my reightleg that I was finally put on medication. Which I have to say I was overjoyed about.
I was on pills but it wasnt enough to keep cpntrol. So I pushed for a set of labs and an insulin level. To their surprise my pancreas was exhausted. Finally I am on insulin. Have been for 5 years and I love it.

What I found is this. Its better to be in the 170 to 190mg/dl range. your BGs willd rop dramatically when doing diving. It does drop quickly when I am snorkeling.
I pretest just before entering. I have a One-touch simple. It's that new colored long unit that just gives you a reading. If i know I am going to be snorkeling or working in the water for instruction I take only enough to cover what I have eaten during the previous meals. I prefer 70/30 with a bolus of R when needed.
I also found that seedless grapes are handy for a boost and stay pretty good at the beach or shore.
I tried icing but its too sticky. I also like real Root beer. It brings BGS up slowly but evenly in me.

I try to stay out for 30-45 minutes and come back test and grab a 30 gram snack and head back in. My usual snorkeling diving is about 90 minutes to 2 hours three times a week.
As longa s you keep your bgs a bit high so you ahve something to work on, and take a B vitamin to allow the muscles to use the glucose ( it works like actos) there should be no reasons not to dive.
Ill ask my daughter what the book and passage is so others can reference it.


Panhandle Joe
10-06-2007, 06:37
Just wanted to say "Thanks" to all of you who shared your input with me regarding diabetes and diving. After my last MD visit he told me that a good, consistent workout plan to keep you in shape is the best preventor of stressors that may cause your blood sugar to drop while diving. I also reviewed the article that DAN posted in their magazine and it has a good plan to follow.