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September 2015    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 30, No. 9   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Chest Pain in Older Divers

from the September, 2015 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

John Bantin's mother always insisted that her kids wait an hour after eating before swimming in case they got the cramps. "But as a diver, I often ate a hearty meal immediately before diving without, I believed, ill effect. Cramp, though uncomfortable, doesn't cause a diver to drown."

It's not as if he was overweight or had chronic health problems. "During my long career as a diving journalist, I was ever aware of my health and on the watch for any signs of ill effects, such as nerve damage or bone necrosis. By the time I was 66, I started to get occasional pains in the chest, but these thorough annual health checks indicated I had admirably low blood pressure, a low heart rate at rest, and a quick recovery time after heavy exercise."

But Bantin's chest pains didn't subside. He thought they were a form of indigestion, since they were related very much to what he had recently eaten. His doctor suggested a gastroscopy [a doctor looks down your stomach with an endoscope] "in case the pain in my esophagus was caused by something more sinister. The results were telling."

To find out what Bantin was diagnosed with -- and how many other divers may have the same condition - read the rest of his commentary, "Chest Pains in Older Divers" on our blog. Go to www.undercurrent.org/blog and Bantin's post is at the top of the page.

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