To be allowed to dive, the diabetic diver must adhere to the set of specific standards and rules





Any diving diabetic needs to be fit and both mentally and emotionally prepared for a dive. Diabetic divers are instructed to always wear SOS bracelet containing information that its bearer is a diabetic and also a diver with a statement that the decompression illness must be considered if the dive results in health disorder.

The diabetic diver's designated buddy must be chosen from experienced scuba divers who are
  1. regular diving partners familiar with the problems diabetic is likely to experience, or
  2. come from trained medics/paramedics familiar with the specific problems of diabetics.
The dive buddy should by no means be diabetic himself or herself.

Besides the regular safety equipment set like surface marker buoy, flag, emergency beacon, personal flares, a dive kit of diabetic diver must include:
  1. 2 separate packs of oral glucose paste (or tablets).
  2. Emergency injection of glucagon.
  3. Glucose oxidase sticks with glucose-measuring instrument with the enclosed instructions how to use the kit.
Glucose tablets or paste should be placed inside a waterproof container to be carried underwater during the dive. The dive buddy must carry the same reserve of glucose tablets or paste just in case. There should also be at least another one person in the dive party trained to know how to administer the glucose and perform emergency intramuscular injection of the glucagon.

Immediately before the dive the diabetic diver must ensure that their blood sugar level is slightly higher than normal by consuming some glucose tablets followed by testing the blood glucose level.

Maximum depth diabetic diver is allowed to go down must not exceed 30 metres until enough scuba diving experience is accumulated at the considerable period of time of active diving.

After resurfacing the diabetic must check their blood glucose level and, if necessary, to adjust it by comsuming some glucose. If any adverse symptoms are noticed they should be immediately communicated to their dive buddy and the supervising divemaster. Considering the symptoms of low blood sugar level and neurological decompression illness or gas embolism in form of fainting, fits etc. can easily be confused, don't waist time guessing which of these situations you are actually facing. Should the said symptoms occur, the first aid to the diabetic casualty must be provided as if all of these conditions were present at a time. Specifically, the diabetic scuba diver in such cases should be given some 100% oxygen and provided anti-low blood sugar level treatment. In case of underwater or the surface incident, the diabetic diver should be brought to the boat or shore ASAP, and after administering some oral glucose paste or intramuscular injection of glucagon (the latter - in case of patient's loss of consciousness), the medical attention should be sought urgently.




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Every dive will end with the need to ascend to the surface and it's important to make sure that every ascent is a safe ascent. To be discussed soon is the topic of how to safely ascend to the surface after a dive.
Ukrainian Society of Professional Scuba Diving Instructors
Ukrainian professional diving instructors UDIP
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