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**Can You Get the Bends from Scuba Diving?**

Scuba diving is an exciting and rewarding activity, but it also carries some risks. One of the most serious risks is decompression sickness, also known as the bends. The bends can occur when a diver ascends too quickly from a dive, causing nitrogen bubbles to form in the bloodstream. These bubbles can block blood vessels and cause a range of symptoms, from mild pain to paralysis or even death.

**What Causes the Bends?**

The bends is caused by a buildup of nitrogen in the body’s tissues. Nitrogen is a gas that is present in the air we breathe. When we dive, the pressure of the water increases around us, and this causes more nitrogen to dissolve into our blood and tissues.

As we ascend from a dive, the pressure decreases, and this causes the nitrogen to come out of solution and form bubbles. If we ascend too quickly, the bubbles can form too quickly and can block blood vessels.

**Who Is at Risk for the Bends?**

Anyone who dives is at risk for the bends, but some people are at higher risk than others. These include:

* Divers who dive deep
* Divers who dive for long periods of time
* Divers who ascend too quickly
* Divers who are overweight or obese
* Divers who have a history of decompression sickness

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**Symptoms of the Bends**

The symptoms of the bends can vary depending on the severity of the condition. Mild symptoms may include:

* Joint pain
* Muscle pain
* Fatigue
* Nausea
* Vomiting
* Dizziness

More severe symptoms may include:

* Paralysis
* Seizures
* Loss of consciousness
* Death

**Treatment for the Bends**

If you think you may have the bends, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Treatment for the bends typically involves recompression therapy, which is a process that involves placing the diver in a chamber and increasing the pressure around them. This helps to dissolve the nitrogen bubbles and reduce the symptoms.

**How to Prevent the Bends**

There are a number of things you can do to help prevent the bends, including:

* Dive within your limits. Don’t dive deeper or for longer than you are trained to do.
* Ascend slowly. Always ascend at a rate of no more than 30 feet per minute.
* Make safety stops. Stop at 15 feet and 10 feet for three minutes each on your way to the surface.
* Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your dive.
* Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Alcohol and caffeine can dehydrate you and increase your risk of the bends.
* Get a dive physical. Before you start diving, get a physical exam to make sure you are healthy enough to dive.

**Conclusion**

The bends is a serious condition that can be caused by scuba diving. However, there are a number of things you can do to help prevent the bends, and if you do experience symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

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