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Health Tip: Scuba Diving Safety

Know the risks before you dive in

(HealthDay News) -- Scuba diving may allow you to see some amazing underwater places. But it's important to become scuba-certified before you hit the water.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, certification may help prevent these possible pitfalls of the sport:

  • Failure to relieve pressure in your ears by "popping them" can lead to inner ear barotrauma, which can cause you to lose hearing and feel very dizzy.
  • If you don't breathe correctly as you float to the surface after your dive, pulmonary barotrauma can occur. This can trigger symptoms including pain in the chest, difficulty breathing and a hoarse voice.
  • "The bends," also called decompression sickness, also can occur as you float to the surface. This serious condition can cause nitrogen bubbles to form in the blood, and can affect the lungs, brain and spinal cord.
  • An arterial gas embolism (AGE) causes bubbles in the blood, which could reach the brain. This very serious diving injury can lead to symptoms including unconsciousness, numbness, paralysis, general weakness or tingling skin.
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