With the rising temperatures as we head towards summer, it is very import for scuba divers to stay hydrated and maintain their correct level of body fluids.
Nitrogen is washed out by the lungs after a dive, but as you all know, this washout will be less effective if your body is dehydrated. Through dehydration you will increase bubble formation and growth in the blood and body tissues
which can lead to Decompression Sickness (DCS)
If you are diving from the shore and must carry equipment over rough terrain, make sure you are well hydrated before entering the water. The loss of water through profuse sweating, while kitting up on land must be replaced before entering the water. If possible, kit up in the shade and put on the wetsuit as late as possible.
Dehydration is caused when the body loses more fluid than is taken in, this can lead to severe medical problems. Headaches, confusion, irritability, cramps, decreased performance and fatigue are often signs of dehydration, over a long term period, dehydration can also lead to the formation of kidney stones. Keeping hydrated is a crucial factor of scuba diving and it will influence your diving performance and your safety.
Dehydration in divers reduces the volume of blood plasma and perfusion of tissues, meaning the blood thickens and it reduces the blood flow around the body. As we know, the blood is responsible for the exchange of gases, so if the blood plasma’s volume is reduced it can lead to decreased gaseous exchange, thus affecting the off gasing of Nitrogen and increasing the risk of developing DCS. There are 3 things which increases dehydration within divers. Sweating, breathing compressed air and increased urine production.
Whilst the wetsuit keeps you warm underwater, it makes you sweat during the kitting up phase and it does not allow you to cool down. Put on your wetsuit as late as possible.
During the Dive:
the increased ambient pressure and cooler water temperatures cause the blood vessels in the extremities to narrow, blood will be shunted to the core of the body (lungs, heart and large internal blood vessels) in the effort to keep you warm. The body will react to the increased volume of blood to the core, it thinks there is a fluid overload. Our kidneys will be instructed to produce more urine, which leads to loss of water and salt. Therefore, divers feel the urge to urinate (Diuresis) during, or immediately after a dive, this should not be interpreted that the body is well hydrated so you urinate more, this actually means, you are losing excessive fluids and vital salt.
Cold Breathing Air;
Another cause is due to breathing cold, dry, compressed air, as you will have experienced on your flight here. The air is dry, so you need fluid to humidify the air as you inhale it. Colder water temperatures also make your lungs work more to warm up the air, which again increases the body moisture loss again. Alcohol, tea and coffee also dehydrate the body, so excessive amounts should not be taken in before or immediately after
a dive. On average, one should drink 2 Litres of water more, and in a heat wave it is advisable to have an intake of about 4Litres, on top of what you would normally consume.
Drink more water and produce less bubbles!
Safe diving to you all.
The DiveSMART Team