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## Health Risks of Scuba Diving

Scuba diving is a popular and exciting activity, but it also comes with some inherent health risks. It is important to be aware of these risks before you start diving, so that you can take steps to mitigate them.

According to the Divers Alert Network (DAN), the most common health risks associated with scuba diving are:

Decompression sickness (DCS), also known as “the bends,” is a condition that can occur when a diver ascends too quickly from a dive, causing nitrogen bubbles to form in the bloodstream. DCS can range from mild to severe, and can cause symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling, and paralysis.
Barotrauma is a condition that can occur when there is a difference in pressure between the inside and outside of the ear or sinus cavities. Barotrauma can cause pain, bleeding, and hearing loss.
Nitrogen narcosis is a condition that can occur when a diver breathes nitrogen at high pressures, causing symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, and euphoria. Nitrogen narcosis can increase the risk of DCS.
Oxygen toxicity is a condition that can occur when a diver breathes oxygen at high pressures for too long, causing symptoms such as seizures, nausea, and vomiting. Oxygen toxicity can be fatal.

In addition to these specific health risks, scuba diving can also increase the risk of other health problems, such as:

Hypothermia (low body temperature) can occur when a diver is exposed to cold water for too long. Hypothermia can cause symptoms such as shivering, confusion, and loss of consciousness.
Hyperthermia (high body temperature) can occur when a diver is exposed to warm water for too long. Hyperthermia can cause symptoms such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
Drowning is a risk in any water activity, including scuba diving. Drowning can occur if a diver runs out of air, or if they are unable to surface due to an injury or other problem.

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### How to Reduce the Health Risks of Scuba Diving

There are a number of things you can do to reduce the health risks of scuba diving, including:

Get certified by a reputable diving organization. This will ensure that you are trained in proper diving techniques and safety procedures.
Dive with a buddy. This will give you someone to help you in case of an emergency.
Follow the dive plan. This will help you avoid getting lost or diving beyond your limits.
Ascend slowly. This will help to prevent DCS.
Equalize your ears and sinuses frequently. This will help to prevent barotrauma.
Stay hydrated. This will help to prevent dehydration and other health problems.
Avoid alcohol and drugs before and after diving. These substances can impair your judgment and increase your risk of accidents.
Be aware of your fitness level. If you have any health conditions, you should talk to your doctor before scuba diving.

### Conclusion

Scuba diving is a great way to experience the underwater world, but it is important to be aware of the health risks involved. By taking the proper precautions, you can help to reduce your risk of injury or illness.

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