Diving Physiology

Those serious about Scuba Diving can learn some serious, complicated stuff. Many just want to go diving. You are getting ready to enter a foreign environment that humans don’t feel natural in. So learning a little bit about the environment you’re getting ready to enter will be a help. That’s what physiology is all about, what to expect when you get underwater. Knowing how your body will react is what this is all about. If you know what your body will experience, feel and need to react to, you will likely feel safer and have a more rewarding experience going scuba diving.

There is some understanding of Physics as it relates to scuba diving too. There you learn how buoyancy works, how you will experience sound and light, and lastly, but maybe most important how the increasing pressure of the water as you go deeper has an impact on gasses. Now how those phenomena of physics affects the body. There are some scary things that you should be exposed to when scuba diving. If you learn how to do them correctly, they become perfectly safe to do.

The knowledge obtained about diving physiology will prepare you to:

Understand how water pressure impacts our bodies,

What can happen while you’re underwater,

Why it can happen,

How to recognize symptoms, and

What to do in case of an accident.

You should also understand what could happen even before you get in the water to prepare yourself and to deal with whatever comes up.

Even before you get to the dive site you could feel seasick. On the way to a wonderful dive spot you’ve heard so much about you don’t want to get sick. Some people are more likely to get seasick than others are. Here are some precautions and simple rules of thumb to consider though, including:

Larger boats rock less than smaller ones

Don’t eat greasy, heavy foods before you go

Don’t drink too much alcohol

Don’t get dehydrated

Don’t party all night

If you suspect you might be susceptible to seasickness, take heed of the preceding precautions and possibly get or have access to some medicines that will help control and prevent you from getting seasick. Over-the-counter drugs are available, with more serious prescription drugs available as well through a doctor. Over the counter meds commonly used are: Dramamine, Scopolamine, Bonine, etc. Both pills and skin patches are popular. Then there’s the serious “Sea Bands” approach developed by the British Navy, deploying wrist bands in an acupuncture format.

The rest of the effects all have to do with the pressure that increases as you go deeper. This deals with some laws of physiology that applies to the gasses in your body and the air that you breathe in.

Nitrogen is the primary gas with which you have to be concerned. The deeper you go the more nitrogen builds up in your system. Slow ascents allows that nitrogen to get out of your body, while faster ascents doesn’t and can cause dire consequences.

That’s not quite all but you need to also be aware of the other indirect effects of underwater pressure include shallow water blackout, oxygen toxicity, carbon monoxide toxicity, nitrogen narcosis, and full blown decompressions sickness.

While those can’t be covered directly here, learn more about them before you go diving if at all possible.