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Decompression Illness
zaheer2alvi - 7/24/2007 12:00 AM
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Category: Educational
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Decompression Illness, The Bends, Caisson Disease, DCI, DCS, is caused by nitrogen gas bubbles forming in the blood stream, and lodging in the tissues. The bubbles often accumulate first in joints, causing pain which is somewhat alleviated by bending the joint. Thus in bad cases the casualty would "bend" into a fetal position, leading to the term "the bends". Decompression Sickness is caused by incomplete or insufficient decompression following exposure to increased barometric pressure. DCS can be experienced by caisson workers, miners working in pressurized mines, fighter pilots and others ascending quickly to stratospheric altitudes, and of course divers. Symptoms can range from fatigue or rash, to joint pain, tingling and pins and needles in any part of the body, visual disturbances, difficulty breathing, personality changes, loss of balance, paralysis and ultimately decompression sickness can be fatal. Basically, any symptom following a dive, up to 24 hours later should be checked out by a diving physician.