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Newly diagnosed T1, questions and Scuba Diving

Discussion in 'Type 1 Diabetes' started by Hannah3003, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. Hannah3003

    Hannah3003 Type 1 · Member

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    hello everyone,
    I was diagnosed with T1 diabetes 2 weeks ago (22 years old and no other health problems up to now). I had my first hypo about 3pm today,I tested and was 2.6 but I although I was alone I managed it pretty well but my blood sugars shot up, I definitely think I over compensated but feeling a little rough now. I am anxious to get back driving but I am aware you can't have severe hypo in the last 12 months. As a general rule, what is the reading you'd get if you have are really bad hypo? I know that it differs for everyone but I literally have no idea.
    I am an avid (warm water) scuba diver and when I have been reading horror stories about never being able Rosie again. Is there anyone on here who is still able to dive with diabetes? I have no plans to go diving anytime soon, but I just want a little hope I will be able to get back in the water.
    Sorry for the longgggg post
     
  2. noblehead

    noblehead Type 1 · Guru
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    Welcome to the forum @Hannah3003 :)

    Everyone has overcompensated when treating a hypo, you go into panic mode and just want to get out of the hypo as quick as possible, in time you will know how much fast-acting glucose you need to bring your bg levels back up, so don't worry about it and just be pleased you've got your first hypo out of the way and you know what symptoms to look out for from here on.

    As for Scuba Diving, have a look at the following link which should answer your question and concerns:

    http://www.bsac.com/page.asp?section=1537&sectionTitle=Diabetes+and+diving

    Good luck.
     
  3. Jon_B

    Jon_B Type 1 · Member

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    Hi Hannah,

    I'm Type 1, and have been since 1990. I started diving in 2007 and in the last 9 years have done around 200 dives, and have nearly finished my PADI Divemaster. I did all my training in the UK, as a cold-water Dry Suit diver, and was already up to 65 dives before I went to Egypt to go warm water diving. What a difference! Anyway, the point is, you have to make completely sure you don't hypo during a dive. My routine is to test three times in the hour before a dive, so you don't just get a reading, you know how you are trending. Just before I get in the water, I drink most of a can of coke, or a whole Mars bar, or 10 glucose tabs, you make sure you are saturated with glucose. When you get out of the water, test again, and do whatever insulin to bring back down to normal. Your requirements will differ, I'm a 50 year old 13 stone male, and my insulin requirements are much higher than they were in the 90's, so you'll have to work out your own glucose amounts, but the principle will be the same. A 40 minute dive is like 40 minutes resistance training at the gym, although it doesn't feel like it, so bear in mind, you'll need to carb-load before getting in. I've done liveaboards where I am doing four dives a day, including night dives, 20 in a week, so you are testing A LOT, but it's all perfectly do-able, and like the rest of the diabetes management, once you are familiar with your routine, it's not so bad. :) You will need a "Fit To Dive" medical before you get back in the water, which is nothing to worry about either. The guys at the London Diving Chamber at St. Johns Hospital are all diving doctors, and will give you all the help you need to get back in the water. http://www.londondivingchamber.co.uk/
     
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  4. Jon_B

    Jon_B Type 1 · Member

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    I might add, I always take glucose gels down with me, in my BCD, they are like little toothpaste tubes, and although I have never hypo-ed in the water, I do have glucose with me, even at depth. Also, I always let my buddy know (of course) and the signal of an "L" (for Low) on my forehead with thumb and index means we surface immediately. Again, I have never had to do this. Funnily enough, I actually thought I invented this sign, but I've recently discovered it is fact a standard PADI signal for Low Blood Sugar. :)
     
  5. NannyPoppins

    NannyPoppins Type 1 · Active Member

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    Hi... I've been type 1 for 17years and i have been diving for just 3years now. It's just testing, testing, testing... and sore finger tips. Plus a bag full of snacks. I go in at 12/14 normally. I notice if my bloods are to high my breathing is very rapid. I manage a nice 1hour long dive (depending depth) and my buddy (partner) is great. We have our own sign for bloods and if I was to feel funny at anytime we will just surface safely.

    We are warm water divers and so it's normally holiday diving. Egypt, Malta, Greece... I let the dive company know and have a signed paper from my consultant to say I'm safe to dive. The dive company normally take a copy for insurance purposes I think. Ive never had any problems so far... touch wood, so try not to worry.

    I carry the Glucose gel in my BCD too and my buddy has one on him aswell.
     
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  6. Auckland Canary

    Auckland Canary Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Basically what everyone else has said. I haven't dived for a while now and pretty much hung my fins up but I have logged over 120 dives around the world while diabetic. One word of caution however, some companies are very suspicious about diabetics diving as they don't understand or want to risk an accident. I was prevented from diving on a liveaboard in Cairns a few years ago despite having a note from a doctor saying I was fit to do so. They said any letter had to come from a doctor in Queensland otherwise they wouldn't approve it. It was basically BS..t for insurance reasons however you do need to either check properly before you go or be prepared to keep it a secret between you and your buddy which isn't advisable. That is the only time I had an issue although it made me quite nervous going forward. There is no medical reason you can't carry on diving
    Don't the gel tubes get squashed under the water pressure?
     
  7. NannyPoppins

    NannyPoppins Type 1 · Active Member

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    Don't the gel tubes get squashed under the water pressure?[/QUOTE]

    That's a good question but no I've never had them damaged because of pressure. I'm down at 30m and they are fine when I surface. I always check each dive.
     
  8. CapnGrumpy

    CapnGrumpy Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Over compensating for a hypo is very normal - especially if it was your first one.

    I don't know if auto correct has given me the wrong end of the stick about your post ( there's a special place in Hull for the inventor of auto correct), but for dRiving (with a motor vehicle, not flippers and an air tank) it's 'disabling' hypos that you can't have more than 2 of in 12 months and keep your licence. Disabling means that you required someone else's assistance, which it doesn't sound like you did.

    Diving, I know nothing about, but would love to give it a go.
     
  9. tim2000s

    tim2000s Type 1 · Expert
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    What I'd also add is that it is MUCH easier to get your diving qualifications through PADI as a diabetic than through BSAC. I spent a year fighting BSAC whilst at Uni as they flat out refused to do anything with diabetics at the time. That was 20 years ago though, so things appear to have changed.

    I'd still suggest that PADI is the way to dive with diabetes though. (And what a great name for a website - "Dive with Diabetes").
     
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  10. CapnGrumpy

    CapnGrumpy Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Good to know. I thought I might as well contact a local club and see what happens. Their blurb says (effectively) 'no dive trial without someone else carrying the can if it goes wrong'.

    I've emailed them to ask hoops I would need to jump through.
     
  11. Jon_B

    Jon_B Type 1 · Member

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    I had the same experience when I wanted to start, Richmond BSAC flat out refused to deal with me, whereas Aquanauts in Kingston (PADI) were very supportive and encouraging, and the many club members I've had the privileged of diving with over the years have gone on to become some of the best friends I've ever made. As I'm doing my Divemaster now, I get to assist the Instructors with students too, it's very rewarding. I believe BSAC have changed their position some time ago, but I'm very happy with club.
     
  12. Larajb

    Larajb Type 1 · Member

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    I waited 25yrs to get my medical clearance! Finally got it last year after using pump for almost 2yrs . Wanted to do BSAC but you now have to go through Dr Chris Read I think it is, still fighting now although my medical from DDRC covers me for BSAC he refuses to give me clearance!!!!!!! I successfully passed my PADI open water September last year & loving it, but as all my friends dive with BSAC feel bit excluded can't do club trips other than as spectator. Your be back in the water soon DONT let your diabetes stop you doing anything, I've been diabetic 40yr now if people say no work around it determination is all you need it's YOUR body soon with your diabetes your know what little tweaks you have to do. Good luck Hannah3003
     
  13. Hannah3003

    Hannah3003 Type 1 · Member

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    Thanks for all the really positive comments everyone. I'm even more determined now to get back in the water (when I'm next by warm waters) I'm really pleased I found this forum, it's already helped me so much!!
     
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  14. DM500

    DM500 Type 2 · Active Member

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    Just noseying through dive related posts. Lots of good advice but I'd strongly recommend not drinking fizzy drinks before a dive. There was a near fatality a number of years ago in the uk where all the gas expanded in the stomach and then as the guy came up ...
    Another good risk reducer is a full face mask/Reg
     
  15. KazV1

    KazV1 · Active Member

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    I went hypo in a deep murky Quarry dive in South Africa, I lost my team....Imwas training at the time, I had to go to the surface and float for five mins and slowly get helped to the edge, needed my gf to take my tank off and getbme some sugar, not a nice feeling, and I didnt even inform my divemaster that I was diabetic, he thoughht Inwas being lazy, I just didnt wanna say.
     
  16. douglas99

    douglas99 I reversed my Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Hope I never dive with you, if that's the sort of thing you keep from your dive partner.
    Not only can you kill yourself, you can kill me as well.
     
    #16 douglas99, Jan 25, 2017 at 2:19 PM
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
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