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Underwater heart rate monitor?

Discussion in 'Divers with Disabilities' started by Scubaru_Steve, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. Scubaru_Steve

    Scubaru_Steve Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Pennsylvania
    86
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    So I have been diving for around 3 years now. I am an AOW diver with Nitrox.

    However I am also an asthmatic. I have had no issue with asthma ever on or near a dive. I always make sure that if there is any potential thread to have a flair up before or during a dive I cancel the dive.

    Now my curiosity has the best of me, are there heart rate monitors that are waterproof?

    I have always like the chest strap style since its a continuous feed of HR vs the watches that you have to touch to start the reading.

    I guess as I get more into diving I like to keep track of my vitals.
     
    beaverdivers likes this.
  2. blackvans1234

    blackvans1234 Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Boca Raton, FLORIDIAN
    440
    51
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    There's dive watches that measure HR

    IMHO I wouldn't get suckered into it. It's just another thing for you to lose, and someone to find
     
  3. Bubbletrubble

    Bubbletrubble Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Seussville
    4,811
    876
    0
    The Scubapro/Uwatec Galileo Sol and Luna both offer heart rate monitoring as an "upgrade." These dive computers use heart rate to tweak the deco algorithm. As far as I know, no peer-reviewed scientific evidence exists that validates whether this makes the deco algorithm any "safer."

    I must be missing something, though. How can underwater heart rate monitoring make it safer for an asthmatic to dive?

    Much better to do everything you can to manage the underlying inflammation in the lining of the airways and avoid diving whenever you feel like an attack is imminent. And it sounds like you are doing just that.

    If you have been diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma, it's probably not a good idea to dive...since cold, dry tank air can trigger an asthma attack.
     
  4. Scubaru_Steve

    Scubaru_Steve Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Pennsylvania
    86
    4
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    Well I already have the Suunto Cobra 3, Love it! It tracks my tank pressure and turns that into my breathing rate and how much air I have left in minutes on that tank. Which is a great stress reliever underwater.

    I did have excercise induced asthma, I don't know if I still do but all the signs point to be fading with age. I run a mile every time I go to the gym where I track my resting heart rate, time, speed, and ending heart rate. Everything is logged on an excel spreadsheet and kept track of.

    I am getting over a cold and all colds cause some of my worst asthma attacks. Went to the hospital this past week to get a nebulizer treatment and had them print out all my vitals they check. For 22 my resting heart rate was 66, which is very healthy. My blood pressure was 116/82, near textbook perfect, and my blood oxygen level was 99%, even when my chest felt tight. I am one to work through an asthma attack, I try to make my body strong enough to deal with them on its own.

    For as long as I have been diving I have never had a complication underwater. After my AOW cert weekend I had a weird pain in a portion of my chest (lower right) which felt more like muscle strain from so much bottom time in the cold waters of Dutch Springs. I have dove from Myrtle Beach to up here in Williamsport, Pa. Everything from 75* water to 45* water, on air and Nitrox. Still nothing has caused an issue. I feel when I dive that it is a very relaxing type of exercise. Its not like a run where its get up and go, blood pumping legs vigorously working. Scuba diving is very relaxing to me and I think thats why asthma has never been an issue.

    I was mostly looking for a heart rate monitor for another way to keep an eye on if maybe I should slow down my pace and take a breather while under water.
     
  5. Bubbletrubble

    Bubbletrubble Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Seussville
    4,811
    876
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    You don't need an underwater heart rate monitor to tell you that you should slow down and "take a breather" while on a dive.

    Even if you have money to burn, I don't think you can seriously rationalize the purchase.
    The only compelling argument I can think of is that you are a horrible judge of how much effort you are putting out during exercise. The vast majority of people can tell when they are putting out maximal effort during exercise (80%-90% of max heart rate). Well trained athletes can sustain such effort for extended periods of time...but they are certainly aware of it.
    If you can't judge when to back off on exercise intensity during a dive, then you should probably step up your workouts and hire a personal trainer.

    Save your money for meaningful scuba-related purchases: additional training, boat dives, gas fills, necessary dive gear, dive vacations, DAN or other insurance for scuba divers, etc.

    By the way, what did your physician say about your exercise-induced asthma when you had to get medically cleared to dive before every scuba class?
     
  6. Scubaru_Steve

    Scubaru_Steve Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Pennsylvania
    86
    4
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    Well I was hoping I could get a heart rate monitor in the $20-$30 range as I have had those before, wasn't looking to break the bank, haha.

    I am aware of when to take a breather underwater, I just like to keep stats on all that is going on, if you look in my initial post I was honestly just curious if a fully underwater heart rate monitor exists, I am not necessarily looking to purchase one.

    Honestly nothing was said about my exercise induced asthma, the papers were signed both times and on I went to get my training.

    People have always been telling me what I can and can't do because of my asthma. Sure it can be a serious issue, I have had mono and phenomena which both triggered horrible episodes of asthma for days. But I don't let it stop me, in high school I always did and completely the one mile run in the average time even when the coaches said I didn't have to run it. People said I couldn't hike in Philmont, NM for 10 days straight but I did it. Over peaks and across rivers, 90 degree days and 30 degree nights. Scuba diving is just another thing I love to do and people try to tell me I can't. Don't get me wrong, I have read numerous articles on the health risks to scuba diving and having asthma, a lot goes on down there. Pressure changes, temperatures, dry cold air, mental statues changes, etc. But I've been doing this for 3 years and nothing has happened. I always alert my dive buddy of my condition and have a hand signal made up just for it. Believe me I understand the risks and know the signs of when I should slow down. Honestly I get more leg cramps than anything in or near my chest or breathing.
     
  7. Bubbletrubble

    Bubbletrubble Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Seussville
    4,811
    876
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    I'm surprised by that. Most scuba agencies have students declare a long list of medical conditions on a waiver. Any students admitting to a history of asthma would be asked to get medically cleared by a physician. If the physician didn't assess how well-controlled your asthma was (via testing, history, etc.) and at least spend a few minutes discussing the potential dangers of diving with that condition, I don't think he/she did a very good job. The topic of medical clearance for asthmatics in scuba diving is a pretty controversial one, and it deserves at least some discussion.
    With regard to health risks associated with asthma, hiking from one station to the next at the Boy Scout High Adventure Camp in NM really isn't comparable to scuba diving. This really shouldn't be a case of "other people say I shouldn't do such-and-such with asthma but I'm going to prove them wrong." Depending on the severity of your condition and how well it is managed, you could be subjecting yourself to an unacceptable level of risk by continuing to scuba dive. Asthma is one of those chronic medical conditions that a dive-savvy physician should evaluate (with pulmonary function tests) and discuss with you so that you can get a better handle on how much additional risk it presents.
    That kind of logic only works...until you get hurt, i.e., experience lung barotrauma followed by arterial gas embolism.
    I don't want to turn you off of the sport, but I want to strongly encourage that you discuss your condition with a dive-savvy physician, preferably a pulmonologist.
    I applaud the fact that you inform your buddy about your condition.
    For what it's worth, I have a medical background, and if an insta-buddy admitted that he had exercise-induced asthma, I would probably politely decline to dive with him. For reference, I'm a "people" person, I hate to disappoint others, and I love introducing newer divers to the sport I love.

    At the very least, please read this essay on asthma and diving on the Divers Alert Network website.

    Good luck with everything...
     
    Duke Dive Medicine likes this.
  8. Scubaru_Steve

    Scubaru_Steve Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Pennsylvania
    86
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    Well when I first started scuba diving it was a for my college fitness. Basically just going through the padi workbook, study one week, dive in the pool the next. They did go through all the necessary steps to ensure everyone was fit to dive, which did include me getting written consent from my physician allowing me to dive.

    Now the reason I mention hiking Philmont was because the physical demands of hiking for miles each day, going up 3,000 ft in elevation in short periods of time put a lot of stress on my system. But asthma never flared up at all during the trip.

    I know how the onset of an asthma attack feels. I know the signs before I get one. I have learned many tricks for taking care of one. Asthma at its worst for me causes tightness of my chest, and restricted breathing abilities. All due to inflammation of the bronchioles, which I am sure you are already aware of.

    I am aware the biggest fear is the air in theAlveoli could be trapped and as I rise to the surface they could burst. I have always concluded that if I were to under some circumstance get an asthma attack under water I would take a slow ascent to the surface to allow the air to exchange throughout my lungs and equalize pressure evenly. I have read numerous articles on asthma and scuba diving, I have tried to learn and understand the small amount of research that has been done on the matter. I do realize I am at a greater risk for danger than most divers. However its always in the back of my mind, and its on the mind of my insta buddy.
     
  9. Scubaru_Steve

    Scubaru_Steve Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Pennsylvania
    86
    4
    0
    So I just read the post by DAN and find I am by that calibration in the:

    Mild intermittent asthmaSigns & symptoms: Clinical features occur less than once a week and are associated with less than a 20 percent decrease in peak flow (the maximum rate of air flow during expiration). This type of asthma shows brief increases in the severity of symptoms (called exacerbation), lasting a few hours to a few days. Nocturnal symptoms occur less than twice monthly, and between acute attacks the patient should be asymptomatic, with normal lung function.Treatment: Intermittent use of short-acting bronchodilators on an as-required basis.

    I used to be bad, used to need my inhaler a lot. But lately I use it when I get a cold, and thats maybe 1-2x a year. It has gone down in severity drastically. I will however look to get a lung test done and see what my breathing conditions look like.
     
  10. Bubbletrubble

    Bubbletrubble Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Seussville
    4,811
    876
    0
    The combination of inflamed airways, increased mucus production, and constriction of muscles surrounding airways is a condition to be taken seriously, particularly in people considering diving.

    I do think that seeing a pulmonologist and getting baseline pulmonary function tests done would be the prudent approach.

    Here are a couple more essays to read:



    As you can see, physicians have a variety of opinions on the matter.
     

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