Scuba Diving and Caffeine – Is it a good idea?

scuba-diving-caffeineMany scuba diving purists agree that you should not consume caffeine at least 12 hours before a dive. Why? The hypothesis is based on the fact that caffeine is a diuretic which dehydrates you. If you dive when you are dehydrated, it increases your chances of succumbing to decompression sickness. When diving, experts suggest diving only when you are hydrated and to bring a bottle of water along. Air in the diving tank is in dehumidified form, which makes every breath you take hard on your body.

Although the caffeine hypothesis makes sense, many divers give anecdotal evidence that indulging in a cup or two of coffee before a dive does not drastically increase your chances of getting decompression sickness. In fact, many point out that the caffeine hypothesis has never been studied and no research exists that has established a high correlation between consuming caffeine and an increased likelihood of suffering from decompression sickness. Most likely, you will have to consume an exorbitant amount of coffee in order for it to make you more vulnerable to decompression sickness. So you can use your trusty coffee maker but just don’t go crazy, some of the best coffee makers like those aren’t going to cause you any issues.

Decompression Sickness

Decompression sickness, also known as the bends or caisson disease, occurs when you decompress too quickly from exposure to increased pressure. When you dive, the amount of nitrogen absorbed by your body’s tissues from the breathing gas is based on the pressure surrounding your body. When the surrounding pressure is reduced too quickly (ie: surfacing too quickly), the nitrogen forms bubbles in your body’s tissues and bloodstream and causes a host of problems including numbness, paralysis, and other cerebral issues. If the bubbles enter your venous bloodstream, you may suffer congestive symptoms in your lungs and circulatory shock.

Symptoms that you might be suffering from decompression sickness include, unusual fatigue, itchy skin, pain in joints, pain in extremities and torso, dizziness, vertigo, ringing in your ears, numbness, tingling sensations, paralysis, and shortness of breath.

Signs of decompression sickness include blotchy rash, paralysis, muscle weakness, difficulty urinating, confusion, personality changes, bizarre behavior, amnesia, tremors, staggering, coughing blood, frothy sputum, collapse, and unconsciousness.

Symptoms and signs appear between 15 minutes to 12 hours after surfacing. Immediate recognition of symptoms and treatment will give you a greater chance for a full recovery.

Important Reminders And Tips For A Fun Scuba Diving Experience

scuba-diving-fitnessDo you want to go on an adventure with your family or friends? These days, there are a lot of places and activities that you can go to and do which will surely provide you with fun, entertainment and good memories. However, have you ever tried out scuba diving? After all, scuba diving is not just a fun activity, but it also provides opportunities for travel together with your friends or family. In addition to that, you will also have the opportunity to interact with the underwater environment closely.

More and more people are starting to tune into scuba diving as a recreational activity. Divers of all ages, diving experiences and athletic abilities try it out. There are a lot of first timers too. However, as much fun as it could be, you should also seriously consider the risks and health and fitness requirements for scuba diving first. Even though the fairly weightless underwater environment makes scuba diving look effortless, scuba diving really does require a lot of stamina and strength. So why is overall fitness important before you scuba dive? Here are some reasons why.

Is fitness really important when going scuba diving?

The answer to this question would be yes. If you are seriously considering scuba diving, you should keep in mind that diving conditions can vary. For instance, remember that weather and water conditions change from day to day, from dive to dive and sometimes, it can even abruptly change from when you first started to dive until the end. When this sudden change occurs, you would be required to swim and move through strong currents in order to reach your dive site again. You might even have to execute a long surface swim near the end of your dive.

Swimming through strong currents and executing a long surface swim requires strength and stamina. In fact, divers should really be prepared to perform different unforeseen vigorous physical tasks. In addition to being physically fit, you should not take any medications and you must not have a health condition that can cause you problems and difficulties as you dive. Also, if you are still a student currently learning to dive, you have to completely fill-out a medical history form first before you can get into the water. A complete medical check-up conducted by a physician is not always required, but this depends on the scuba diving company you are using.

Honesty is the best policy. If you have any medical problems but are unsure whether it is relevant to diving or not, you still have to report it to the appropriate authorities. Scuba diving authorities/experts/guides will most likely advise you to get consent from your physician first. If your physician gives you the okay, then ask for a certificate and present it to your scuba diving guide. If you have been prohibited from going, do not be hard-headed. Remember, your doctor knows best.

What are medical conditions that can prevent scuba diving?

If you have the flu or a cold, you might think that it is just a minor illness and will not hinder you from scuba diving. However, you are very wrong. The fact of the matter is the flu or a cold really restrict your scuba diving activities. This is because when you have a cold or flu, there will be a blockage or swelling in your Eustachian tubes or in your sinuses. With the water pressure underwater, this blockage or swelling can prevent the suitable equalization of your air spaces.

In addition to that, if you have any injuries in your muscles or joints, or experience any medical conditions in those areas (arthritis, sprains, dislocations, etc.) your ability to dive and maneuver through the water will be reduced. Also, you will be more exposed to decompression illness. For that reason, it would be best if you cancelled any scuba diving plans until your muscles or joints are fully healed.

Enjoy your scuba diving!

Scuba diving is definitely a fun recreational activity. Anyone and everyone who is physically fit and is in good health can enjoy it for as long as they want.  In order to maximize the fun you get when scuba diving, make sure to practice injury and disease prevention. Also, make sure to involve yourself in a program for health maintenance. Here are some healthcare tips you should keep in mind before scuba diving:

  • Exercise regularly. You can exercise by simply walking around, jogging, or you can even do Zumba every once in a while.
  • Make sure that you are well-nourished and well-rested before scuba diving.
  • Make sure to regularly see your physician for checkups.
  • Make sure that you are using the appropriate protection gear and equipment.
  • Plan your scuba diving activity weeks, or even months ahead. This will prevent you from getting stressed about it and gives you enough time to become fit enough for the dive.

My Fantastic Diving Trip to Indonesia

Beautiful Gili Islands, Indonesia
Beautiful Gili Islands, Indonesia

For me, diving is about the freedom that it brings. I don’t dive because I get paid, I dive because I love being able to swim amongst the fish and crawl along the sea-bed. I love diving the way some people love running or horse-riding; it allows me to be free. When I feel down, I tell my problems to the sea instead of a therapist. After all, the sea doesn’t talk back. But, this isn’t just about my love of diving, this is about a very special diving trip to Indonesia, which will stay with me forever.

Start as I Mean To Go On

Before I get started on the dives, let me tell you about the party I went to whilst I was there. So, I met a guy there and he was pretty cool and so, he told me that a really cool party was going on that evening. Well, I did the only logical thing; I went to the party and boy did it start my trip off with a bang.

He gave me the directions and, when I got there, my heart sunk. It was packed. I thought that we would never be able to get in. Obviously, I did get in and, when I was on my way to locate a beer, I spotted the DJ. Now, most of you will say, huh, what’s the deal with the DJ? Well, you see he was a top DJ and, oh wow, he was amazing. You can really tell the difference between a good DJ and a not-so-good one, can’t you? Anyway, the rest of the party passed in a blur of beer, fireworks, and music. If you’ve ever been to an amazing party, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Best Hangover Cure

After I’d slept off the hangover from the party, I located my beloved diving kit and headed for the boats. The dude driving the boat took me out to this secluded cove and, I have to admit, when I saw this, admittedly beautiful, spot, my heart sunk. I had no idea that such a secluded spot could hide such wonders below the surface. Anyone who has ever dived in Indonesia will know how amazing it is below the surface. The fish just don’t seem to care that above the surface people face horrendous challenges; they just swim. Now, the spot might have looked peaceful above the surface but underwater, it was a different story; the entire ocean was a ricochet of colors. Everywhere I looked, there were beautifully colored fish, corals and other sea plants. Trust me when I say this, it was pretty dang special. I spent a while down there, just forgetting my worries, and, when I reached the surface, I felt like the most carefree guy in the world.

To Be a Fish

Anyway, if the first spot was special and the second one was even better. Whilst the first spot was chaotic and hectic (like a city street) the second spot was peaceful, tranquil and dignified. The water was crystal clear and the sand was so, well, white. The fish just seemed to glide through the water, rather than dart. And me? Well, I just sat there and watched them, wishing I could be like them.