What causes the bends and how can a diver prevent its occurrence?
The Bends is an illness that arises from the rapid release of nitrogen gas from the bloodstream and is caused by bubbles forming in the blood and other tissues when a diver ascends to the surface of the ocean too rapidly. It is also referred to as Caisson sickness, decompression sickness (DCS), and Divers’ Disease.
How do free divers avoid the bends?
Free divers really don’t have to worry about decompression sickness (the bends) because they are not breathing compressed air underwater. They are simply taking a breath of air at the surface, descending, and returning to the surface with that same breath of air. Things just go back to normal.
Will the bends go away on its own?
In some cases, symptoms may remain mild or even go away by themselves. Often, however, they strengthen in severity until you must seek medical attention, and they may have longer-term repercussions.
What does the bends feel like?
The most common signs and symptoms of the bends include joint pains, fatigue, low back pain, paralysis or numbness of the legs, and weakness or numbness in the arms. Other associated signs and symptoms can include dizziness, confusion, vomiting, ringing in the ears, head or neck pain, and loss of consciousness.
What happens if the bends goes untreated?
Untreated bends cause damage!
Failure to treat promptly and appropriately may lead to permanent impairment.
How long does it take for the bends to set in?
Symptoms of the Bends. The nervous and musculoskeletal system are most often affected. If divers are going to develop symptoms, they will show within 48 hours in all cases. Most have symptoms within 6 hours, while some develop them within the first hour of surfacing from a dive.