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MSD Manual

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Medical Conditions That May Preclude Diving

Medical Conditions That May Preclude Diving

  • Alcohol or drug abuse

  • Chronic or short-term congestion of the nose and sinuses

  • Diabetes, type 1 or type 2, that is treated with insulin (usually)

  • Drugs that can cause drowsiness

  • Fainting spells

  • Habitual air swallowing

  • Heart disorders, such as coronary artery disease, heart failure, irregular heart rhythms, valve disorders, and congenital heart defects that allow blood to leak from the venous to the arterial system such as atrial septal defects

  • Inguinal hernia that has not been repaired

  • Impulsive behavior or being prone to accidents

  • Lung problems*, such as asthma, lung cysts, COPD/emphysema, or previous pneumothorax (collapsed lung)

  • Obesity†

  • Older age†

  • Panic disorder

  • Physical disabilities

  • Poor cardiovascular fitness

  • Pregnancy

  • Ruptured eardrum

* Possible higher risk of pulmonary (lung) barotrauma.

† Higher risk of decompression sickness.