Health Problems That Can Interfere with Diving

diving health problemsBefore anyone decides to try SCUBA diving, there are certain health problems that should be considered. While some pre-existing health conditions are obviously dangerous, others may surprise you. It’s important to perform honest assessments of your health to prevent SCUBA diving health problems. This article highlights just a few of the health conditions one should be aware of when diving.


The main concern with having an overactive thyroid is the potential acceleration effect  that it may have on the heart rate. The ultimate negative outcome of hyperthyroidism when left untreated could be cardiac arrest or paralysis.
The good news is that hyperthyroidism is easily controlled with a good treatment plan.  When blood tests confirm that the hormone thyroxine is within normal ranges,diving can be resumed without a problem.

Collapsed Lung

Collapsed lung, or Pneumothorax, is a condition in which a lung collapses. There is a leak that does not allow air to enter the space surrounding the lung. The person suffering often experiences a sharp pain in the chest.

Statistically, most people who experience one episode of Pneumothorax are destined to have another. Therefore, if a diver has experienced collapsed lung prior to diving, they take a risk. The greatest danger comes during decompression. People who have experience collapsed lung are not recommended to dive at all.


Asthma creates a tightening condition in the chest when air gets trapped in the lungs. This trapped air could be dangerous to a diver as they ascend to the surface of the water because it can cause the airway to rupture. This can also lead to blood clots.

Compounding that most dangerous reality, practically speaking, asthma often acts up for the patient during exercise such as diving. Additionally, divers breathe compressed air that is dry and cold. Some asthmatics dive anyway. Their choice depends mostly on the severity of their symptoms.

These are just a few of the diving health problems that interfere with diving. If you are diving for the first time, consult with your doctor beforehand to be on the safe side. Certain medications when taken also cause symptoms such as drowsiness that can be very dangerous to the diver. Be thoughtful and always do your research.

Image via TauchSport_Steininger


  1. We always concentrate on the negatives. Why do you never have an article on the health issues that SCUBA actually helps?

  2. Why is hyperthyroid never asked on a dive medical request form?

  3. john marsden says:

    I’ve had the bends once, was on dialysis for four years, had my aortic valve replaced twice, and received a kidney transplant five years ago. I was certified in 1963 and will continue to dive “until they close the lid”.

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