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Category: Diving Medicine

Lose Weight Forever!

  • DIVER Editorial
  • 23rd May 2013

It’s a simple formula: burn more calories than you absorb By Dr. David Sawatzky In the last column I wrote about obesity, the advantages and disadvantages in relation to diving.  The bottom line was that obesity significantly increases the risks in a diver.  The problem is that most people …

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Obese Divers Beware ‘Saturated Fat’

  • DIVER Editorial
  • 23rd May 2013

By Dr. David Sawatzky As I write this column it is the middle of the Christmas holiday season.  No matter what your beliefs, virtually all of us celebrate the end of the old year and the beginning of the New, and that celebration usually involves eating excessive amounts of …

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Dysbaric Osteonecrosis Part 2

  • DIVER Editorial
  • 22nd May 2013

It’s rare in the recreational scuba enthusiast but deeper divers and pushing no-decompression limits can put you at risk By Dr. David Sawatzky The lesions of dysbaric osteonecrosis (DON) only occur in a few bones of the body.  They are found in the head and proximal shaft of the …

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Dysbaric Osteonecrosis Part 1

  • DIVER Editorial
  • 22nd May 2013

Will ‘diver’s rotting bone disease’ become more common as technical diving grows in popularity?  By Dr. David Sawatzky Dysbaric osteonecrosis (DON) was first identified in the 1940s and was found to be relatively common in the 1970s and early 1980s in some groups of divers but extremely rare in …

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Pulmonary Embolism and Blood Thinners

  • DIVER Editorial
  • 11th November 2012

  By Dr. David Sawatzky In DIVER September 2002 I talked about blood thinners and diving, a discussion about deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and the requirement for people diagnosed with a DVT to be on a blood thinner for several months afterwards.  To be clear, ‘blood thinners’ do not …

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BPPV – Sudden onset of vertigo

  • DIVER Editorial
  • 11th November 2012

By Dr. David Sawatzky Condition most common in divers 60 years and older Recently I’ve been exchanging emails with a diving friend who experienced sudden, severe, nausea, vomiting and vertigo after a dive in Mexico.  DAN diagnosed inner ear barotrauma and the local Ears, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist …

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Under Stress

  • DIVER Editorial
  • 11th November 2012

  Some divers handle it better than others, but underwater we all deal with it for better or worse Text by Bret Gilliam The following continues a discussion on diving and stress that appears in the current issue of DIVER Magazine, Volume 37 Number 8, now available on newsstands. …

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Can diving benefit the health of breast cancer survivors?

  • DIVER Editorial
  • 13th July 2012

Project Pink Tank is on a mission to get to the bottom of it. Text by Lisa Sonne More than 400 scuba enthusiasts, including open water, advanced, technical, and instructor level divers, are participating in “Project Pink Tank,” a multi-phase investigation into the relationships between scuba diving and the …

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Nitrogen Narcosis: A Critical Conversation

  • DIVER Editorial
  • 3rd July 2012

Text by Bret C. Gilliam The following discussion picks up from the current issue of DIVER Magazine – Volume 37 Number 4 – now on newsstands. Against the background of an historical perspective and today’s ardent debate on this subject author Bret Gilliam advocates the dissemination of more accurate …

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Epilepsy/Seizures and Diving

  • DIVER Editorial
  • 17th January 2012

Diving Medicine By Dr. David Sawatzky A seizure is a sudden surge in electrical activity of the brain that alters how an individual feels or acts for a short period of time.  In a classic ‘grand mal’ seizure a person looses consciousness, all of their muscles contract for up …

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Fainting and Diving

  • DIVER Editorial
  • 17th January 2012

Diving Medicine By Dr. David Sawatzky In the last column we looked at epilepsy and seizures.  However, epilepsy and seizures are a relatively rare cause of loss of consciousness.  The most common cause of loss of consciousness is fainting (syncope) and it results in one of every 30 visits …

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LOC While Breath-Hold Diving

  • DIVER Editorial
  • 17th January 2012

Diving Medicine By Dr. David Sawatzky In this column we will look at the breath-hold diver who suddenly looses consciousness in relatively shallow water.  These individuals often die from drowning.  This phenomenon has been called ‘shallow water blackout’ but the term should be avoided – it’s confusing.  Initially shallow …

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Coughing While Diving

  • DIVER Editorial
  • 17th January 2012

Diving Medicine By Dr. David Sawatzky Frequently, I receive reader questions. The following (edited) enquiries raise several issues of interest. Does Nitrox Have a Taste? Should Nitrox taste any different from regular air? I’ve noticed a difference. Air is odourless and tasteless in contrast to Nitrox, which I found …

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High Pressure Neurological Syndrome

  • DIVER Editorial
  • 17th January 2012

Diving Medicine By Dr. David Sawatzky In the last two columns I reviewed inert gas narcosis.  High Pressure Neurological (Nervous) Syndrome (HPNS) is a similar problem that is experienced on deeper dives.  It is a difficulty that recreational divers will never experience but advanced technical divers are increasingly performing …

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Why Do I Need to Pee Every Time I Dive?

  • DIVER Editorial
  • 17th January 2012

Diving Medicine By Dr. David Sawatzky Every diver knows that when they go diving they need to pee.  They also know that any cold water diver who claims never to have peed in their wetsuit is either lying or has logged very few dives. Finally, it’s fair say that …

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Dehydration and Diving

  • DIVER Editorial
  • 17th January 2012

Diving Medicine By Dr. David Sawatzky In the last column I talked about the reasons urine production is increased while we are diving and what we can do about it.  In this column I will continue that discussion by looking at other reasons divers are almost always dehydrated during/after …

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Sports drinks: You Can Drink and Dive and It Can Help

  • DIVER Editorial
  • 17th January 2012

Diving Medicine By Dr. David Sawatzky In any discussion on dehydration, the topic of electrolytes must come up.  So what are electrolytes?  In Stedman’s medical dictionary an electrolyte is defined as “any compound that, in solution, conducts electricity and is decomposed by it; an ionizable substance in solution”.  Ions …

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Is diving addictive?

  • DIVER Editorial
  • 17th January 2012

Diving Medicine By Dr. David Sawatzky All of us enjoy diving or we would not be doing it. Often we feel better when we are diving. A subset of divers seem to really enjoy diving deep on air. Is diving addictive? Narcosis is a fascinating topic and supports the …

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Fatalities: Inexperience a Big Factor

  • DIVER Editorial
  • 17th January 2012

Diving Medicine By Dr. David Sawatzky Every year approximately 100 people die in North America while diving, and another 100 die while diving in the rest of the world.  Diving is a relatively high ‘risk’ activity.  By that I mean there are many ways in which you can be …

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Buoyancy Control- It’s An Inside Job

  • DIVER Editorial
  • 17th January 2012

Diving Medicine By Dr. David Sawatzky In the last column I looked at diving fatalities and noted that poor buoyancy control was a significant factor.  Buoyancy control is by far the most difficult skill to master in diving and the easiest one to lose.  Therefore, in this column I …

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Raynaud’s Symptoms and Diving

  • DIVER Editorial
  • 17th January 2012

Diving Medicine By Dr. David Sawatzky I was recently consulted on the case of a commercial diver who presented with cold, white, painful fingers after walking outside on a cold windy day.  When the diver was questioned it was discovered that they often experienced similar symptoms while diving and …

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