Opinions on the risks involved for divers with diabetes

What diving physicians think.

Diabetes is becoming an increasingly common condition in the modern world. Medical opinions on diving with diabetes among diving physicians vary widely. Some physicians say diabetes is an absolute contra-indication to diving, the same as, say, asthma, while others believe that appropriately controlled and informed diabetics may be able to manage their diving staying within acceptable risk limitations.

There's a lot of contradictory advice for diabetic divers varying equally, depending on who they come from. With the situation so confused, it is very difficult for divers to find unbiased summary of these issues accounts to be truly reliable for dive instructors as well as for the general diving population.

Statistically there's up to 20% of diabetics suffering from this metabolic disorder that are insulin dependent. There's a strong opinion among doctors specializing in underwater medicine that at least insulin dependent diabetics must be not allowed to dive with scuba. Anyway, a number of researches revealed that a surprisingly considerable and growing amount of divers from this group still practice scuba diving with rather moderate number of incidents.

From the other hand it seams many medical concerns are sooner based on theory and rather small number of real cases when dives by diabetics had unhappy end.

Which leads to the belief that properly trained and monitored diabetics can dive without a substantial increase in absolute risk. So, the opinion that diabetics should be excluded from diving can be considered more conservative than necessary. The real situation is that there's a group of diabetics that may be unfairly denied the opportunity to enjoy some recreational scuba diving. But what really worries is that diabetics may just opt to bypass the doctors and simply dive on their own without the necessary information and support not only from medical specialist, but even from a scuba instructor.

We believe this issue has to be addressed with great caution in order to develop a motivated and fair attitude towards this group of sportsmen. But so far any argument in favor of allowing diving with diabetes should be no means interpreted ALL diabetics should be able to dive. While those who still dive should have special training in order to dive within acceptable bounds of risk.


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