Decompression Sickness in Women Recreational Scuba Divers

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal

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Jacalyn J. RobertTexas Tech University Center for Sports Health and Human Performance, Box 43011; Lubbock, TX 79409-3011

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Recreational sport diving is becoming an increasingly popular sport for women. Women now comprise approximately 25% of the diving community according to Divers Alert Network statistics. In the diving literature it has been stated that women are at a greater risk for decompression sickness than men. Most of these statements were derived from high-altitude (hypobaric environment) studies rather than from a scuba diving (hyperbaric) environment. Data from the naval diving and salvage training center were analyzed, and it was found that women are not more susceptible to decompression sickness than men during dives between 4 and 10 atmospheres. More specific studies on sport diving should be completed on factors contributing to underwater decompression sickness in both men and women.

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