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## Why Does Holding Your Breath Cause a Collapsed Lung While Scuba Diving?

Scuba diving is a popular and exciting activity, but it also comes with certain risks. One of the most serious is the risk of a collapsed lung, which can occur if you hold your breath while ascending from a dive.

### What is a Collapsed Lung?

A collapsed lung, also known as a pneumothorax, occurs when air or gas builds up in the pleural space, the area between the lungs and the chest wall. This can cause the lung to collapse and make it difficult to breathe.

### How Does Holding Your Breath Cause a Collapsed Lung?

When you hold your breath while ascending from a dive, the air in your lungs expands as the pressure decreases. If you hold your breath too long, the expanding air can rupture the alveoli, the small air sacs in your lungs. This can cause air to leak into the pleural space and cause a collapsed lung.

### Risk Factors for a Collapsed Lung

The following factors can increase your risk of developing a collapsed lung while scuba diving:

– **Rapid ascent:** Ascending too quickly from a dive can increase the pressure gradient between the lungs and the pleural space, making it more likely that the alveoli will rupture.
– **Lung disease:** People with lung disease, such as asthma or emphysema, are more likely to develop a collapsed lung.
– **Smoking:** Smoking damages the alveoli and makes them more likely to rupture.
– **Obesity:** Obesity can increase the pressure on the lungs and make them more likely to collapse.

### Symptoms of a Collapsed Lung

The symptoms of a collapsed lung can include:

– **Chest pain**
– **Shortness of breath**
– **Rapid breathing**
– **Dizziness**
– **Cyanosis (bluish tint to the skin)**
– **Shock**

### Treatment for a Collapsed Lung

The treatment for a collapsed lung depends on the severity of the collapse. In some cases, the lung may re-expand on its own. In other cases, a needle or chest tube may be inserted to remove the air from the pleural space.

### Prevention of a Collapsed Lung

There are several things you can do to prevent a collapsed lung while scuba diving:

– **Ascend slowly:** Ascend at a rate of no more than 30 feet per minute.
– **Equalize your ears frequently:** Equalizing your ears helps to prevent air from getting trapped in your middle ear, which can increase the pressure in your lungs.
– **Do not hold your breath:** Holding your breath while ascending can increase the pressure in your lungs and make it more likely that the alveoli will rupture.
– **Get regular medical checkups:** If you have any underlying lung conditions, be sure to get regular medical checkups to make sure that your lungs are healthy.

### Conclusion

Holding your breath while ascending from a dive is a dangerous practice that can lead to a collapsed lung. By following the safety guidelines and taking precautions, you can help to prevent this serious injury.

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