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## Why Does My Chest Hurt After Scuba Diving?

Scuba diving is an exhilarating and rewarding activity, but it can also come with some unexpected side effects, one of which is chest pain. While chest pain can be a sign of a serious medical condition, it is more often caused by a less serious condition called decompression sickness (DCS).

DCS occurs when nitrogen bubbles form in the body’s tissues during or after a scuba dive. These bubbles can cause a variety of symptoms, including chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, and nausea.

The risk of DCS is highest in divers who ascend too quickly from a dive, or who make multiple dives in a short period of time. Divers who are overweight, obese, or have a history of heart or lung problems are also at increased risk.

## Symptoms of DCS

The symptoms of DCS can vary depending on the severity of the condition. Mild DCS may cause only mild discomfort, while severe DCS can be life-threatening.

### Common symptoms of DCS include:

– Chest pain
– Shortness of breath
– Fatigue
– Nausea
– Vomiting
– Dizziness
– Confusion
– Paralysis

## Treatment for DCS

The treatment for DCS depends on the severity of the condition. Mild DCS can often be treated with rest and oxygen therapy. More severe DCS may require hospitalization and treatment in a hyperbaric chamber.

A hyperbaric chamber is a pressurized chamber that delivers pure oxygen to the body. The increased pressure helps to dissolve the nitrogen bubbles and relieve the symptoms of DCS.

## How to Prevent DCS

The best way to prevent DCS is to follow the recommended dive profiles and to avoid ascending too quickly from a dive. Divers should also make sure to stay well-hydrated and to avoid alcohol and caffeine before and after diving.

### Other tips for preventing DCS include:

– Dive with a buddy and stay within your depth limits.
– Ascend slowly and make frequent safety stops.
– Avoid making multiple dives in a short period of time.
– Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after diving.
– Avoid alcohol and caffeine before and after diving.

## When to Seek Medical Attention

If you experience any symptoms of DCS, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. DCS can be a serious condition, and early treatment is essential for a full recovery.

### Call emergency services if you experience any of the following symptoms:

– Severe chest pain
– Shortness of breath
– Confusion
– Paralysis

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