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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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March 2010    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 36, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Do the Drugs You Take Increase Bends Risk?

from the March, 2010 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

As we hope you know by now, dehydration can be a factor in getting a bends hit. That’s why one should drink plenty of water when diving. And why drinking alcohol in excess then diving on a hangover is an unwise practice. It’s also why any diver who takes a diuretic needs to be sure he’s drinking enough fluid to counteract the possible dehydration.

Diuretics, either alone (e.g., Lasix, Hydrodiuril) or in combination with another agent, are most commonly, and often among the first, drugs prescribed for the control of high blood pressure. Occasionally, they are prescribed to control vertigo.

Diuretics of all types tend to reduce plasma volume and increase blood viscosity, and the potential implication of this for DCS is obvious. Keep in mind, dehydration as a result of diuretics doesn’t occur overnight; it can take a period of some weeks.

Interestingly, in a study of medications divers receiving hyperbaric facility care had taken (“Drugs Downed Divers Did,” presented at the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society’s annual scientific meeting in June 2007), antihypertensives were the second most frequently reported.

- - Doc Vikingo

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