Quick Answer: What Happens If The Bends Goes Untreated?

How dangerous is the bends?

Decompression sickness (DCS), known as ‘the bends’ because of the associated joint pain, is a potentially deadly condition caused by bubbles of nitrogen gas forming in the blood and tissues.

It’s most common among divers using scuba tanks, but can affect free-divers and people at high altitude..

Why is it called the bends in diving?

Your body uses the oxygen, but the nitrogen is dissolved into your blood, where it remains during your dive. … It is these nitrogen bubbles that cause decompression sickness. The condition is called the bends because the joint and bone pains can be so severe they double you over.

What do the bends feel like?

The pain associated with the bends usually feels like a dull ache, but can be much more severe, like a stabbing sensation. This painful sensation can also occur in other parts of the body, including the ear, the spinal cord, the lungs, the brain or the skin.

How deep can you dive without decompression?

The need to do decompression stops increases with depth. A diver at 6 metres (20 ft) may be able to dive for many hours without needing to do decompression stops. At depths greater than 40 metres (130 ft), a diver may have only a few minutes at the deepest part of the dive before decompression stops are needed.

Why do divers have to come up slowly?

A diver should ascend most slowly from his safety stop to the surface, even more slowly than 30 feet per a minute. Nitrogen in a diver’s body will expand most quickly during the final ascent, and allowing his body additional time to eliminate this nitrogen will further reduce the diver’s risk of decompression sickness.

What happens if you don’t treat the bends?

What happens if you don’t seek treatment? In severe DCS, a permanent residual handicap may result: this can be a bladder dysfunction, sexual dysfunction or muscular weakness, to name a few. In some cases of neurological DCS, there mat be permanent damage to the spinal cord, which may or may not cause symptoms.

How do you prevent bends?

Scuba Diving Tips: How To Avoid Decompression Sickness — AKA The BendsTIP #1: Work Out. … TIP #2: Go Easy on the Sauce. … TIP #3: Go Easy on the Diving. … TIP #4: Have a Gas. … TIP #5: Take it Slow. … TIP #6: Stop, For Pete’s Sake. … TIP #7: Bundle Up. … TIP #8: Speak Your Mind.

At what depth do you get decompression sickness?

Symptoms of decompression illness can occur within minutes and up to 24 hours or more after exposure to changes in ambient pressure associated with dives of 20 feet in depth or more. The severity of symptoms depends on the rate and the magnitude of the change of ambient pressure and can vary among individuals.

How long do I have to wait to fly after scuba diving?

Should you go on the dive? The U.S. Navy tables recommend that you wait at least two hours before you board a plane after diving; the U.S. Air Force says you should wait 24 hours; DAN recommends a 12-hour minimum surface interval before flying.

What causes skin bends?

Skin bends may be one of the most common manifestations of decompression sickness, but it is frequently misidentified as a sunburn or other non-diving ailment and goes unreported. Skin bends can be a sign of improper dive procedures or a medical predisposition to decompression sickness such as a PFO.

Does mild DCS go away?

This DCI denial is considered as one of the first symptoms of decompression illness and often leads to a delay in seeking medical advice. Sometimes these symptoms remain mild and go away by themselves, however, they often continue to persist or even increase in severity and medical advice will need to be sought.

Do you die if you get the bends?

Decompression sickness is caused by surfacing too quickly after a deep dive. The condition can cause rashes, joint pain, headaches, and paralysis. Death only occurs in extreme cases. It can take hours or even days after a dive before sufferers become aware that they have decompression sickness.

How long do skin bends last?

DCS-related skin changes usually occur within several minutes to several hours after a dive. The more severe your dive exposure, the more quickly symptoms are likely to be evident. Is usually the first symptom to go away. May resolve within 24 hours.

At what depth does the bends occur?

The Bends/DCS in very simple terms Anyone who dives deeper than 10 metres (30ft.) while breathing air from a scuba tank is affecting the balance of gases inside the tissues of their body. The deeper you dive, the greater the effect.

Can the bends be cured?

Prognosis. Immediate treatment with 100% oxygen, followed by recompression in a hyperbaric chamber, will in most cases result in no long-term effects. However, permanent long-term injury from DCS is possible.

What happens if you fly after diving?

The Risk of Flying After Scuba Diving Truthfully speaking, ascending to a high altitude immediately after diving increases a person’s risk of suffering from decompression sickness. Flying after diving increases this risk because of the decreasing atmospheric pressure as you ascend.

How do whales avoid the bends?

The same thing happens when scuba divers surface too quickly–a condition known as the bends. But a whale holds its breath when diving, preventing nitrogen buildup, so the theory didn’t seem to hold water. … Whales make repeated shallow dives when trying to evade predators.

Can you fart while diving?

Farting is possible while scuba diving but not advisable because: Diving wetsuits are very expensive and the explosive force of an underwater fart will rip a hole in your wetsuit. An underwater fart will shoot you up to the surface like a missile which can cause decompression sickness.