A good dive exam should cover a number of different areas that a doctor should be looking for. General examinations include visual acuity, cardiovascular fitness, visual acuity, barotrauma, and gastrointestinal function. Doctors may recommend additional tests to evaluate your diving abilities. If you have any history of ear infection, it is important to speak with your physician. Even if there is no history of ear infections or you have never had them before, a diving physical will provide all necessary information.
It is important to assess your cardiovascular fitness before you decide to pursue diving as a hobby, or even as a career. Although this might seem easy, it's not. You shouldn't sign-up for a diving course if your ability to walk is not sufficient. It is better to exercise 20 minutes four to five time per week. Walking a mile might not be enough.
It is important to examine the gastrointestinal function of divers during a scuba diving physical. Ischemic colitis can happen during a dive expedition. Belching and abdominal discomfort are common symptoms in divers. However, very little information is available on the serious gastrointestinal complications that can result from diving. A few rare conditions of the gastrointestinal system have been reported. These include gastric rupture from intra-gastric expansion and massive pneumoperitoneum which result from lung barotrauma. Hemorrhagic and acute ischemic colitis, mesenteric vein bleeding, and acute thrombosis have not been reported to be related to scuba diving.
Dive physicals can be used to determine if divers have the ability to perform the required skills and assess their vision. The diving professional will request that a diver complete a visual ability questionnaire to assess his or her vision. Although the objective of the test is to determine a diver’s distance and near vision abilities, it also measures a person’s visual acuity.
Barotrauma should be checked if you are going scuba diving. Barotrauma derives its name from the Greek words baros which is pressure and trauma which refers to injury. In a dive, the pressure changes can damage or rupture key parts of the ear. This can happen if the diver is suffering from congestion or a cold. This can cause symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.
You should see your physician if you suspect that you have asthma before you dive. Asthma symptoms can worsen or wax and wane, and they can even get triggered by diving. Your doctor will likely prescribe you oral steroids to help with your asthma. To protect yourself, keep some inhalers aboard your dive boat. A physician can run an exercise test for asthma to assess the severity of your condition, as well as a lung function test.