Historically, the medical conditions that stop a person from diving have been heart or lung diseases, diabetes and gastrointestinal problems. However, there is evidence to show that some diving-related medical problems can be reduced by screening people for their fitness to dive.
One condition that has been shown to increase the risk of a diver developing decompression sickness is pneumothorax. In this condition, a diver’s lungs collapse. Symptoms include chest pain, coughing, wheezing, and frothy sputum. If a diver experiences a pneumothorax, he or she should be treated immediately to remove the air from the lungs.
Another condition that can limit a diver’s ability to scuba dive is asthma. Asthma can cause constriction of the bronchioles. This can make breathing difficult and may cause alveolar ruptures.
If you have asthma, you need to talk to your doctor before diving. You may have wheezing or convulsions while underwater, and you may be unable to use your inhaler.
Asthma can be a symptom of other respiratory problems, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). You may have a chest infection, have had chest surgery, or be allergic to certain substances.
Asthma may also lead to a condition called interstitial emphysema, in which gas is trapped between the tissues. This condition may spontaneously resolve or may require hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
In addition, if you are on any medication or have a significant medical condition, you should consult with your physician or physician’s assistant. If you have a heart or circulation problem, you should consult your cardiologist.