Cardiac issues have become a leading factor in diving fatalities, according to a study. Hence, older scuba divers have been advised to have regular fitness assessments with their doctors and cut down on factors that can increase one's risk of suffering a heart attack when diving.
Although it is mandatory to be screened for fitness and have one's dive skills certified prior to being issued a C-Card, such certification lasts a lifetime.
This column is adapted from a chapter in my book, Scuba Physiological – Think you know all about Scuba Medicine? Think Again! The chapters in this book were originally written by scientists in the field of decompression research as part of a three-year project called PHYPODE (Physiology of Decompression).
Due to the constant jaw clenching and fluctuations in the atmospheric pressure underwater, divers may experience symptoms ranging from tooth, jaw and gum pain to loosened crowns and broken dental fillings. Recreational divers should consult their dentist before diving if they recently received dental care, said lead author Vinisha Ranna, BDS, a student in the UB School of Dental Medicine.
Ms Ranna - a PADI and SSI certified Stress and Rescue Diver - is currently studying 'Advanced Education in General Dentistry' at the Eastman Institute for Oral Health, North America.
“After speaking with the other divers, I was surprised to find that many of them had teeth problems in the course of their dives. As a diver I was relieved; as a dentist I was intrigued. I looked through dental research literature to find some information on this topic, but there were no studies that answered my questions.” Vinisha Ranna
I felt thrust back a century or two, perhaps into the setting of the Count of Monte Christo. Lounging in the majestic sitting room, in the stately old mansion that now houses Grotta Giusti Spa but was once the seat and residence of a family from the Italian gentry, I cannot help but ponder the history these walls must have seen. Outside I can see the Tuscan countryside, with its rolling hills and slender stone pines.