Comprehensive information about diving and undersea medicine for the non-medical diver, the non-diving physician and the specialist.
In MS, myelin is lost in multiple areas, leaving scar tissue called sclerosis. These damaged areas are also known as plaques or lesions. Sometimes the nerve fiber itself is damaged or broken.
Myelin not only protects nerve fibers, but makes their job possible. When myelin or the nerve fiber is destroyed or damaged, the ability of the nerves to conduct electrical impulses to and from the brain is disrupted, and this produces the various symptoms of MS.The most common symptoms of MS include:
Less common symptoms include:
The main problem that might be seen with scuba diving with MS is that many of the symptoms of MS are similar to those of neurological DCS, such as patchy numbness, pain over peripheral nerves and fatigue. This would make it very difficult for a diving doctor to examine you and properly diagnose and treat an early case of DCS. Early diagnosis and treatment are necessary for best results with recompression treatment for neurological DCS.
been said - it's going to be very difficult
convincing divers not to return to diving if they had dived previously.
I am not aware of any studies concerning the effects of pressure on the
demyelinating effects of MS, nor am I aware of any ill effects
the use of certain medications for MS. If the diver is not taking drugs
that alter the consciousness then there should be no problem in that
There are many medications used in the treatment of symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Some of theses drugs have sedation as a side effect and these should be considered when deciding if the person is 'fit to dive'.
As long as a diver is no danger to him/herself and poses no danger to his/her buddy I would have no problem allowing diving, particularly if it were done in warm waters with little stress and at no-deco depths. As far as I know, there are no pluses or minuses in regard to the effects of pressure on the demyelinating process.
Fitness & Diving:
Ernest Campbell, MD, FACS All Rights Reserved.