Asthma is a chronic disease caused by inflammation of the bronchi, which manifests itself in seizures, respiratory discomfort, shortness of breath, dry cough, whistling. Asthmatics can not empty the lungs of the air that they have been inspiring. During a scuba dive, the body is subjected to the pressure increase under water, and the ventilatory system work load is higher by nearly 60%. In addition, inhalation of cold, dry air during descent is likely to cause an asthma attack. In addition, breathing, through a regulator, a gas mixture, can also lead to an asthma attack under water. This is why for a long time, asthma has been a contraindication to scuba diving.
At present, the FFESSM, a French federation of studies of submarine sports, considers that after a diagnostic from a pneumologist, and under certain conditions, an asthmatic can scuba dive. A protocol for assessing the severity of asthma has even been drawn up by the medical committee of the federation. The frequency of asthma attacks, and its age are taken into account in order to authorize or not the practice of the sport. The pulmonologist will submit you to an RFE, respiratory functional exploration.
Situations allowing scuba diving
In the case of mild asthma and with the approval of a pneumologist, diving is possible in the following cases:
- If asthma is intermittent, it means when symptoms occur more than once a week, or nightly attacks happens more than twice a month.
- When asthma is mild persistent, when symptoms occur less than once a day, and nocturnal attacks lass than twice a month.
- Moderate persistent asthma, with daily symptoms or nocturnal seizures more than twice a week.
- Severe asthma, when symptoms are permanent or seizures frequent.
- In case of severe antecedent crisis.
- When asthma is caused by cold or by effort.