Who Should Not Scuba Diving?

July 30, 2022 3 min read

Before signing up for a diving course, it is important to understand who should not scuba dive. Most scuba training agencies will require a medical questionnaire, a doctor's consultation, and a medical clearance certificate before diving in order to avoid dangerous situations. Unfortunately, many people skip the medical checkups, putting themselves and other divers at risk. It is estimated that 25% of serious dive injuries occur while helping someone else. Read the list below to determine if you're fit for the sport.

Medical Conditions That Can Impair Scuba Diving

Listed below are medical conditions that can hinder scuba diving. They may be mild or severe, but you should consult a physician before beginning any diving activities. These conditions can impair decompression and can even impair breathing. The following list includes a few of the most common and dangerous Scuba diving conditions. For example, a diver with a history of anorexia nervosa should avoid scuba diving until they have cured themselves of the condition.

Drugs and Alcohol

Studies have shown that people under the influence of alcohol or drugs have lower diving performance. Even a single beer can affect one's performance. According to a recent study, alcohol and drugs impair judgment and reaction times. People under the influence of alcohol may be unaware of these effects, and they may not recognize them until their performance is impaired. It is best to avoid drinking alcohol or drugs prior to diving to ensure the safety of yourself and others.

Heart Disease

Cardiovascular disease is an unfortunate side effect of diving. Often, it is caused by high triglyceride levels in the blood. Medications to lower cholesterol levels can cause side effects, including lightheadedness, and diuretics promote urination. Medications that lower cholesterol can also cause muscle pain. Some divers experience fatigue, weakness, or aching muscles. Muscle pain can easily be mistaken for symptoms of decompression sickness, so it is important to consult your doctor before diving.


Historically, the medical community has discouraged people with diabetes from scuba diving. In the years that followed, the Divers Alert Network conducted surveys with 200 diabetes divers and changed its guidelines. Nowadays, divers with diabetes who are on medication and in good physical shape are allowed to participate in recreational scuba diving. A divers' guide to diabetes and scuba diving can be found here. If you want to dive with diabetes, be sure to consult with your doctor and take the right type of insulin.


People with epilepsy should always wear a personal flotation device or life jacket when swimming in open water. It is essential to wear one that is fitted to the individual's height and physical ability. Also, when swimming in open water, a person should wear a mask and a medical alert bracelet. A lifeguard or another swimming companion should be aware of the person's condition and know how to help in case of an epileptic seizure.

Arterial Embolism

Arterial embolism is a medical emergency that can result in death. It is caused by a gas bubble blocking an artery, cutting off the blood supply to a specific part of the body. The severity of this situation depends on the part of the body affected, the size of the bubble, and the concentration of inert gases in the tissues. This condition must be treated immediately, and a Scuba diver in danger of an air embolism will be taken into a hyperbaric chamber to be exposed to a high-pressure atmosphere and a rapid decompression.

High Blood Pressure

If you suffer from high blood pressure, you should not go diving. The stress involved in diving increases your blood pressure, and your doctor may prescribe medication that will keep your blood pressure in check. It's also recommended that you exercise to lower your blood pressure and stay in shape. You'll also notice the therapeutic effects of diving once your blood pressure has gone down. However, even if you don't have high blood pressure, you shouldn't dive without medical advice.


Divers with asthma should be monitored for symptoms of airway obstruction, including wheezing and coughing, by conducting two daily peak flow measurements. If an asthmatic requires medication to control symptoms, they should not dive. However, in some cases, a diver with mild or moderate asthma may be able to dive safely. A pulmonary function test can determine if an asthmatic should avoid diving altogether. Asthmatics with severe asthma should consult a physician before diving.

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