[Previous Months][Date Index][Thread Index][Join - Register][Login]
[Message Prev][Message Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]

[IP] Scuba diving


> Curtis (or anyone else with info)... I am curious as to what you 
> with your pump when you dive.  I haven't been diving since I started
> pumping and was wondering.  How does someone on an insulin pump
> handle a dive trip? Will the divemasters allow me to dive or do I
> have to hide the fact that I have diabetes?  I'm assuming I would
> disconnect during the dive...  If anyone has any input I'd love to
> hear it.  I'm not planning a trip anytime soon... I'm just curious.

I can only speak for myself and Lily. I make the comments as dad to a 
diabetic young woman and a former scuba instructor that is VERY 

Unless you are on your own, almost any group trip requires a 
liability release from all participants -- doesn't matter if you have 
diabetes or not. It is a different matter for obtaining certification 
to begin with. NAUI will not certify you at all (at least last I 
checked), PADI and SSI and most others will certify you if you have a 
medical waiver signed by your physician that basically says that you 
are fit to dive and that you are not impaired -- BEAR IN MIND that 
SCUBA diving is contraindicated for Type 1 diabetics. Read the 
current state of affairs at:


So in obtaining the medical waiver you are basically saying that 
"yeah, I know I can kill myself, but I'm willing to take the risk"
You get low under water and you could die. That said, there are those 
who are prepared to take certain risks along with precautions. I'm 
the dive buddy for Lily my 17yo daughter -- most of you know her from 
my comments. She has and advanced SCUBA certification obtained last 
year and has been recreational diving since she was about 12. When we 
dive, I make sure that the dive master and any diver she dives with 
KNOWS that she is diabetic and could suffer a low, symptoms, 
treatment, etc..... she and everyone that dives with her carries 
glucose gel in their vest or somewhere where they can get it quick 
and knows how to administer it. She is very careful about her bg's 
and usually ends up running high during and after a dive -- not 
through any lack of effort at control, but just from being over 
cautious -- we don't have "tight" control figured out for diving and 
probably never will. 

There are several factors that must be considered
1) the physical exertion
2) heat transfer through the skin due to water contact
3) wet suit protection???
4) water temp and affect on above

We have dived in waters that range in temperature from the high 
30's / low 40's F to the low 80's (Hawaii), with and without wet 
suits. The most notable thing to pass along to those of you who have 
diabetes is that body temperature regulation appears to suck big 
time as soon as bg's get the slightest bit out of whack. When Lily 
can stay below 150 - 180, the dive is usually confortable and she 
does not chill. Above that, she chills quickly and must spend some 
time getting bg's back down and warming up BOTH. This has 
occasionally resulted in early termination of a dive because 
she is cold. Neither of us is comfortable starting a dive with her 
bg's below 100 so the control margin is small as you all know. The 
only experience we've had with low bg's was several years ago in 
Hawaii just snorkling. She got a little low and asked for me to swim 
in with her-- she was a little chilled, but by my observation not as 
badly as when she gets high -- even with a wet suit on.

It is very important to follow the basic safety rules while diving. 
If you become separated from your buddy, immediately go to the 
surface and wait. I think this is particularly important for diabetic 
divers because in the event of bg problems, you can at least inflate 
your BC, dump your weights if necessary and wait for help. Dive 
buddies should really pay attention. I have to confess that I have 
been separated a couple of times from Lily -- both times on night 
dives and when I came up, she had followed the rules and was waiting 
or popped up right after me. You can not simply go on and assume all 
will be OK which is usually just fine for most divers -- they find 
each other in a minute or two. There is no room for error when you 
have diabetes and choose to SCUBA dive or participate in any high 
risk sport that demands that you be in complete control of your 
faculties at all times or risk life and limb.

Hope this sheds some light on the subject and I really don't mean to 
sound ominous about SCUBA. Lily has a lot of fun doing this and had 
to prod me for over a year to let her get her certification. As you 
other parents know, it's tough to let your babies do things like this 

email @ redacted
for HELP or to subscribe/unsubscribe, contact: HELP@insulin-pumpers.org
send a DONATION http://www.Insulin-Pumpers.org/donate.shtml