Until now, there has been no clear picture of how common cardiovascular risk factors are among active divers
Washington: Turns out, overweight scuba divers are being urged to shed pounds to avoid an underwater heart attack.
A new study conducted by the researchers of European Society of Cardiology found that aged and corpulent scuba divers are at a risk of an underwater heart attack.
"Cardiac issues are now a leading factor in diving fatalities. Divers who learned to dive years ago and who are now old and overweight, with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, are at increased risk of dying," said study author Dr Peter Buzzacott.
People who pay to go diving must learn skills and theory and be screened for fitness. After that initial screening, certification to scuba dive lasts for life. This is where the researchers see an increase in risk. It's not commonly new divers who have health problems, because they have been recently screened. It is older divers who have not looked after their health.
Until now, there has been no clear picture of how common cardiovascular risk factors are among active divers. This analysis compared the 113,892 scuba divers with a group of 338,933 active people matched for age, sex, and state of residence whose main activity was not scuba diving. The data shows that one-third of scuba divers are aged 50 years or older.
Dr Buzzacott advised for a routine fitness assessment with their doctor, and tackle risk factors that otherwise could lead to a fatal cardiac event while diving.
He noted, "Never before in history have so many people been exposing themselves to these extraordinary environmental stresses and, for the first time ever, we now have a large number of people who have spent their entire lives regularly scuba diving."
The findings appeared in the Journal of the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.