Why is Decompression Sickness Called the Bends

Why is Decompression Sickness Called the Bends

Decompression sickness also called the bends, is a potentially disabling illness that can occur when deep-sea divers surface too quickly. It results from nitrogen bubbles forming in the blood and tissues following rapid reduction of surrounding pressure.

The condition was first recognized among people who dived for pearls around Indonesia’s Great Barrier Reef during the 1920s after returning to the surface too quickly.

These divers were nicknamed “bends” because they had difficulty straightening their limbs, just as if they were bent over or “hurt at the back.”

The bends are caused by rapid changes in air pressure. When you’re deep underwater for extended periods your body absorbs high concentrations of nitrogen gas.

The longer you stay underwater say 200 feet down for over an hour the more at risk you become because your body takes on so much nitrogen gas while breathing at a high rate of speed.

This is because compressed air contains more nitrogen gas than the lung itself can safely hold, which means that this excess must be dissolved in body tissues and not released until you return to normal pressure.

If your ascent is too rapid or if you don’t allow enough time for these gasses to come out of solution at slower rates then you will get decompression sickness also known as “the bends”.

If left untreated it could lead to paralysis, blindness, and even death. The condition may go away on its own over time but if symptoms last longer than three months seek medical attention immediately.

Researcher of United states also asked in Reports (Check States): Despite these benefits, SCUBA diving is accompanied by a substantial degree of risk due to the elevated potential occurrence of decompression sickness, a range of barotrauma and lung overexpansion injuries, hyperventilation, blackout, gas narcosis, and oxygen toxicity.

How to avoid Decompression Sickness Check our expert tips(click here)

Why Is It Called The Bends?

Decompression sickness also called the bends or caisson disease is a potentially disabling illness that can occur when deep-sea divers return to the surface too quickly. It results from nitrogen bubbles forming in the blood and tissues following rapid reduction of surrounding pressure.

The term “bends” comes from a time when divers were beginning to realize that there was such thing as decompression sickness and they used this term to refer to its symptoms including itching, tingling numbness, and even paralysis which today we know are caused by excess gas dissolved into body tissue at high pressures not allowing it releases during ascent without causing damage.

Decompression sickness affects people who dive underwater for long periods like those working on oil rigs as well as recreational scuba divers. It is a common affliction with an estimated 100,000 cases reported each year in the US alone and can be deadly if left untreated or occur.

When ascending too quickly from great depths allowing nitrogen bubbles to form within the body tissues putting pressure on them causing damage that could lead to paralysis blindness and even death.

Treatment for decompression sickness includes recompressing using hot water baths which helps dissolve excess gas coming out of solution at lower pressures allowing it to release directly back into your bloodstream through your lungs without having caused any further harm by being unable to do so before reaching normal atmospheric conditions again.


What Does The Bends Feel Like?

The bends feel like a severe case of the flu, with extensive joint and muscle pain.

Do Bends Cause Hallucinations?

Bends can cause hallucinations, which is a false sense of seeing or perceiving something that isn’t there.

What Do The Bends Do To Your Body?

The bends do a lot of damage to your body. They can cause cancer because they destroy white blood cells, which are needed to fight off infections and diseases.

How Are Bends Treated?

Bends are commonly treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber.

At What Depth Does The Bends Occur?

The bends usually occur at depths of 180 feet or deeper.

Can You Get The Bends In A Submarine?

It’s possible to get the bends in a submarine, but it would be unlikely because submarines don’t go as deep as divers.

How long does it take to get rid of the bends?

It takes anywhere from two to four weeks for the body to recover after a deep-sea diver gets bent.

Final Thoughts

The bends are also known as decompression sickness, and it occurs when people dive deep into the water. When they ascend back to the surface too quickly, nitrogen bubbles form in their blood which can cause pain or paralysis.

This condition has been nicknamed “the bends” because of the appearance of the body once these bubbles have formed. If you want to avoid this painful situation for yourself or someone else, learn how long you need to stay at a given depth before ascending again so that your body doesn’t release any excess gas from compression. You may be able to prevent some cases just by giving divers enough time between dives.

Why is decompression sickness called the bends? This article explores the origin of this term.

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