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Is freediving dangerous?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Emerja

New Member
Feb 11, 2005
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According to the Danish website www.dyk.dk, a German group of researchers have proved that freediving over as little as a few years on a competing plan is dangerous.. I can't find anymore information, but it's a fairly new project, so something should be available on the internet.

In the article, no names appear, so I don't know what to search for, but does anybody on the forum know anything about it?
I'm more than interested since this could prove to be very important information.

Please help me (and other freedivers) - if you know anything or have found an article in English, post a link and let's start a debate on the subject.

This link is in Danish, but if Danish readers could read it and then help me search for more info;

http://www.dykmag.net/dk/index.htm


Best regards,
Emerja
 

jome

Well-Known Member
Jul 5, 2004
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Could you transalate that little snippet for the rest of us? I could make out some of it, but my danish is a bit rusty :) Anyway, sounds interesting

If I understood it correctly, they say that practising freediving for more that 3 years will manifest chronic symptoms that are similar to pulmonary hypertension. And the cause being vasoconstriction caused by the dive reflex and hypoxia (kind of like in sleep apnea). It sounds believeble for a period when someone is training hard. I'm a bit more sceptic about permanent changes or indeed any problems for a recreational diver. Of course if you manage to rupture and scar something in there, things are quite different...

Would be nice to see the whole thing. I never thought of it that way...

It would seem obvious that training too much, not resting and inproper diet would worsen the effect. In fact this would fit nicely into some things I've experienced and heard lately.
 
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neshamah

CFD Group
Jun 2, 2003
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We conclude that regular competitive apnea diving over a period of >2 to 3 years might carry a chronic cardiopulmonary risk that may lead from early functional changes to manifestation of pulmonary hypertension.
_________

Hijole... Then I must be dead!- Im 36 and since I was 7 Im doing this

-No--- everything in life has a balance- if you go to the extreme there is where the danger is - the doctor hasn't discovered anything new -the doctor can help us to use the capacity we where created in the rigth way- but holding our breath is normal- if we human are able to holding breath- is because we where created with this capacity -then we can use this capacity for a reason- as is the case of freediving or sparefishing or when we are in the mid of a fire- when we play some instrument -or when we die

In my case - I don't do some practice that me personaly considered are a litle danger like packing- ect - I use my normal lung capacity as the old time
 
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Ulf

Well-Known Member
Jul 1, 2003
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"METHODS:: Electrocardiographic, 2-dimensional echocardiographic, Doppler-echocardiographic, and oxymetric examinations were performed in each subject during an apnea test."

I find their conclusion strange. If you have "right ventricular strain" during the apne. Why does it meen that it would become chronic?
I meen if your'e out jogging your heart rate will be high during the jogging but we all know that does not become chronic... :hmm
 

CEngelbrecht

Well-Known Member
Oct 31, 2002
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Full translation of the DYK snippet

Translated to the best of my ability:

(head)
A German research group has measured the fysiological long term effects on a series of top athletes within extreme freediving, in order to determine if their circulation are damaged.

(main)
The research project exposed the test subjects to a series of predefined examinations of their heart and lung functionality. The eight test divers were all male with an average age of appr. 27 years. Typically, they had 2-3 years of experience with an average of 8-9 dives per week. The average length of their test breath holds were 4.5 minutes.

The research team saw repeated cases of pulmonary hypertension as a result of vasoconstriction and distinct hypoxia, and on that background they conclude that freediving on a competitive level over a period of more than two to three years can lead to chronical functional changes or manifestation of pulmonary hypertension. Or in plain [Danish]: It can be unhealthy!


Now that is cleared out, I have an important question:
WHAT THE HELL DOES ALL THIS MEAN???

Chris Engelbrecht, Copenhagen
 

jome

Well-Known Member
Jul 5, 2004
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There's a lot of "mays" and "maybes". But I have no hard time believing that for someone who trains HARD apnea DAILY for 3 or more years, something like this might show up. But the same propably goes for weightlifters and what not.

Just thinking, correct me if my logic is completely off. Wouldn't an open PFO allow the blood to bypass the lungs all together if the hypertension gets too high? I remember someone somewhere mentioning that sebastien murat believes to have developed a PFO with FRC diving. I may remember wrong...Anyway, that would relieve some of the stress on the heart, but what other problems would that cause?

How does it go again...Aw jeez, do I need to pick up that anatomy book again :duh
 
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kingohyes

New Member
Aug 17, 2003
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PFO? What does this stand for? And is it unhealthy to train pretty hard 4-5 times a week?
 
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Oligo

New Member
Jan 4, 2005
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Ulf said:
"METHODS:: Electrocardiographic, 2-dimensional echocardiographic, Doppler-echocardiographic, and oxymetric examinations were performed in each subject during an apnea test."

I find their conclusion strange. If you have "right ventricular strain" during the apne. Why does it meen that it would become chronic?
I meen if your'e out jogging your heart rate will be high during the jogging but we all know that does not become chronic... :hmm

I have the complete article. Curiously, the abstract (that you quoted) gives the impression that ECG, 2D-echocardiography and Doppler-echocardiography were performed during a breath-hold. However, in the materials and methods section of the article, they clearly state that the three measurements were performed BEFORE apnea. Thus the results that showed symptoms suggesting strain of the right ventricular were obtained during normal resting and therefore it was chronic (i.e. symptoms were present constantly).

It is quite interesting that the results obtained in this study seem to suggest that repetitive (hard training) apnea with severe hypoxia and vasoconstriction plus water pressure on the thorax for a couple of years may lead to permanent pulmonary hypertension and thus to strain on the right ventricular, just like sometimes happens with sleep apnea disorders. However, it must be remembered that permanent pulmonary hypertension was not directly observed in this study (there are methods to directly measure blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries), only the strain on the right ventricular. In my opinion, the observed changes in the hearts of the subjects could also be explained by the strain generated by fighting acute pulmonary hypertension during bouts of apnea.

If it turns out that freediving causes chronic pulmonary hypertension, I would be very interested to see whether normal sports training in hypoxic tents causes it also.
 
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Emerja

New Member
Feb 11, 2005
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I can't figure out a conclusion on this whole article - should we be dead worried, or just continue free diving and disregard the information?

As jome correctly said, a lot af "may" and "maybe"s appear in the article, but still, they have (according to the article) determined that it can be dangerous.
I wish they would write more about it or let us see the actual reports - or maybe even release a statement from one of the researchers. I just can't help thinking "What if they're right, and it might affect us in one or more ways?".

Thanks to Christian Engelbrecht for translating - I was about to do the same, but saw that somebody had already done the hard work. The translation is pretty good (I'm only 16, and my English isn't the best, but I have stayed the last 10 months in Australia as en exchange student), so all credits to Christian.
BTW Christian, thanks for replying to my "Scandinavian Freediving" the other day - Kullen is awesome, have been there quite a few times now.

If anybody should happen to 'run' into the whole article on the internet, please post it here on deeperblue as I'm very interested (among many?).

Emerja
 

jome

Well-Known Member
Jul 5, 2004
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If you don't belong to the group of hard training competitive freedivers, I wouldn't be too worried. Someone who enjoys the occational breath hold dive to reasonable depths and reasonable times, freediving propably has more positive than negative impact on your health (for example for me it is the primary incentive to do any excercise at all and keep fit).

If you're someone that trains almost daily and competes a lot, then it is up to your personal judgement. You may decide to ignore this article, or you may decide to take it as a sign that "maybe we really don't know everything" and take it easy for a while. If you're truly conserned, you could print out a copy and visit a qualified dive doc and ask his opinnion.

But basically, pick any sport and train it to the level of being in the top 10 of the worlds best, and you'll be betting your health for fame and glory. Ok, maybe not curling. But say a marathon or 100m sprint, weightlifting etc.

For example my own case. I've been training (static) really hard for the past year and although this article didn't in that sense provide anything new (I always knew that training anything too much would be detrimental), it has made me think that maybe slowing down for a while is not a bad idea. Everything in moderation, you know. Besides I feel I'm truly starting to reach the limit where it is not reasonable to try to improve with hard training without compromising my health (which I'm not willing to do). If I want to still improve, it will have to be through other means...
 
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BlueIcarus

New-born freediver
Aug 1, 2003
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... like gulping a can of O2 before a dive, Jome :D

Cardio-apnea (like apnea while stairmaster, cycling, etc) is said to put lots of strain
on right heart ventricule, but I don't know it this has a scientific base or not.
 

jome

Well-Known Member
Jul 5, 2004
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Heh, I was afraid someone might take it like that :)

But no, unfortunately I was not speaking of substance abuse... I meant like through mental techniques and such. But propably not much improvement there either. I don't expect to add more than 10-20 sec to my pb, no matter what i do. And that's kind of comforting: now I can just relax and enjoy diving...
 

neshamah

CFD Group
Jun 2, 2003
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Someone who enjoys the occational breath hold dive to reasonable depths and reasonable times, freediving propably has more positive than negative impact on your health
_________

That's truth-
 

neshamah

CFD Group
Jun 2, 2003
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freediving dangerous?


Hey let be realistic-

If we are capable of running- cycling-or swimming

what't wrong with that?

now -if we are able to go deep 60 m- what wrong?? but don't try to do 100m

training hard doens't mean we are going to kill themself- is just create a base first-
 

Oligo

New Member
Jan 4, 2005
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Today I went to see a cardiologist. They took my ECG and I told the doctor to look especially hard for signs of strain on the right ventricular. They found nothing amiss.

I have been freediving regularly now for a year, have gone to the pool at least twice a week. I haven't trained hard, but my results (static >5 min, dynamic 125 m) are not totally crappy. I'd call myself a "recreational freediver".

I'm going to save the ECG results and get a new one in a year or so as a part of my annual medical checkup for diving certification. I am happy that the germans made this study so that doctors will know to include an ECG for freediving medical checkups. In my opinion that's all the reaction needed for these news.
 

jome

Well-Known Member
Jul 5, 2004
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I also had an ECG taken. At first I thought "oh crap", since it did indeed show some indication of right ventricular anomalies.

But I went and dug out and ancient ECG taken before I even knew what freediving was, and it showed almost exactly the same result.

So no change was visible and I have been training very hard for the past year, on average I'd say 3-4 dry static sessions each week, 2 max attempts on each + pool training 2-3 times a week. Althought I havent really dived depth since last summer.

I'll be slowing down anyway, but it's a relief seeing that there's no significant changes.

This got me thinking. Perhaps people with right ventricular domination are simply more physically favorable to freediving and thus, people with such changes are more likely to become competitive freedivers. This could be due to sleep apnea or whatever (I used to have apnea in my sleep when I was chubbier). In a population of 8, you would only need a couple to get some pretty impressive looking percentages.

I still haven't seen the whole paper, so I don't know if they compared the results to the same test done before the subects' apnea career. If not, the whole study seems more and more pointless...

I do want to stress the point that I'm by no means qualified to evaluate this study, I'm just thinking out loud. Don't take my Internet ramblings as a definite proof that this is bogus. If you're worried, get your self checked...
 

Oligo

New Member
Jan 4, 2005
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Jome, I have the whole article and no, they did not compare to any results obtained before the athletes took up freediving.
 

subaquaticus

Fond of the Red Sea
Oct 10, 2004
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jome said:
But basically, pick any sport and train it to the level of being in the top 10 of the worlds best, and you'll be betting your health for fame and glory. Ok, maybe not curling. But say a marathon or 100m sprint, weightlifting etc.

I completely agree with you....

Anything done in excess : drinking, doing any kind of sport, watching TV, making love, etc... can have bad effects on health...

It would be very interesting to assess what most top level athletes in different sports become as they get older...

Many of them do not have a very healthy end of life...

MODERATION is for me the key word...
 
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