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Diving with copd

Discussion in 'Divers with Disabilities' started by donniermiller, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. donniermiller

    donniermiller Guest

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: inman s c
    Iam 60 years old,been diving about 5 years,i had light case of copd when i started, 34 years of dusty trade work, It is getting worse but i steel love diving ,Is it safe to keep diving as long as i take it easy?
  2. Bubbletrubble

    Bubbletrubble Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Seussville
    Dr. Campbell (Scubadoc) has put together a webpage on the topic of evaluating COPD patients for dive fitness. The take-home message is that dive safety for COPD patients should be determined on a case-by-case basis by doing the appropriate pulmonary function tests. This should establish how mild or severe your particular form of COPD is and whether you can dive with an acceptable level of risk.

    See a pulmonologist for an evaluation -- preferably one who is aware of the special considerations of dive medicine. Contact Divers Alert Network for referral information to a dive savvy respiratory specialist if you don't already have one. You should do this in order to make an informed decision regarding your situation.

    Have fun and be safe...
  3. John C. Ratliff

    John C. Ratliff Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Beaverton, Oregon

    I am an industrial hygienist by training. When you say that you have COPD from years of work in a "dusty trade," I am hearing that you have been exposed to some of the toxic dusts. These dusts can include silica dust, and breathing them over a long period of time produces a form of lung disease called silicosis. COPD may be part of your problem, but you may have other complications due to the type of dust. Here's an interesting discussion on COPD, which shows what happens to the lung:

    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Silicosis is a bit different, and is discussed in Wikipedia here:

    Silicosis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    When the discussion says "fibrosis," think of scar tissue formation, as that is the end product of the process. This, in my mind, can lead to areas of the lung where there is no ready way for expanding air to escape. Now, I want to make clear that I do not know what your specific situation is, but I wanted you to be aware of the difference between COPD from things like smoking and the toxic dust reaction from minerals like silica (silicosis).

  4. bleeb

    bleeb Photographer

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Ottawa, Canada
    If you're still looking for information, you may also want to ask a Moderator to move this thread to the Dive Medicine forum, where more medical types regularly hang out.
  5. pasley

    pasley Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Lakewood, CA
    I believe the web link bubbletruble provided covers it pretty well.
    I wish I could in good conscience say go for it. But I can't. If you were a dive student would the instructor let you take the class? Probably not.
    The concerns are:
    1. Air trapped in the lungs and an increased risk of Air Embolism
    2. Exercise tolerance. Will you have enough air to handled the exercise and to handle any unexpected demands such as a strong current that comes up during a dive.
    Last of all, each case is different and should be re-evaluated yearly or more often. Find a good dive medicine doctor (one who knows dive medicine not just a doctor who dives) or at the very least a doctor who at least dives often and have a frank discussion about your concerns.

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