Caisson disease: What is it and how to treat it?

Caisson disease

Caisson diseases, or decompression sickness, the term is used to describe a disease that occurs when there is a decrease in pressure on the body. For example, what happens to your body when you jump out after diving.

Caisson disease
Caisson disease

Decompression sickness includes two diseases, one of which is caesarean section (DCS), secondary arterial gas embolism (AGE). DCS is thought to be caused by bubbles forming in the tissues, causing local damage, while AGE is the result of bubbles entering the respiratory system, which cause tissue damage by blocking blood flow at the capillary level.

Who is prone to decompression sickness?

Caesarean disease affects divers, pilots, astronauts and workers who use compressed air. Approximately 1,000 American scuba divers face the disease each year. What's more, caesarean section can affect any diver. The main risk factor for DCI is a decrease in ambient pressure, but there are other risk factors that increase the chance of developing the disease. These known risk factors are: deep / long diving, cold water, performing complex and physically strenuous exercises in the depths, as well as, rapid ascent to the surface of the water.

Rapid ascent to the water surface is associated with the risk of obtaining AGE. The following factors are thought to increase the risk of developing decopressive disease, but there is no substantiated evidence of them: being overweight, strenuous exercise immediately after emergence, and lung disease. In addition, individual risk factors have not yet been identified. That's why some divers get DCI more often than others, though, the way these divers dive is the same.

The nature of decopressive disease

Because decopressive disease is sporadic, almost any form of diving, no matter how safe, may cause DCI. The reason is that known and unknown risk factors can affect the likelihood of DCI in different ways. Therefore, when assessing the possibility of acquiring a caisson disease, the personal characteristics and symptoms of each diver should be taken into account, and not only the analysis of the type of diving.

The article, Caeson's Disease: What It Is and How to Treat It, Uses Information from DAN (