Alcohol and Diving

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Posted by Jim Hoffmann on March 18, 2001 at 13:42:40:

Chris had a thread about alcohol and diving and someone else said something about hangovers. Alcohol has always been a sore subject with me,( having watch my mother and other relatives die from cirrhosis) and I wanted to make sure that divers knew what alcohol does to their bodies. So I did some research in my Diving Physiology In Plain English (a DAN book) and on the web, and came up with some facts about Alcohol and diving.
A myth.
Diving Cures a Hangover.
A popular misconception is that diving cures an Alcohol hangover. It doesn’t. This myth is dangerous.
Possible origin for this myth are that the cool water, and maybe the higher oxygen pressure during diving, might alleviate certain migraine or cluster headaches sometimes
occurring as part of the hangover. Migraine and cluster headaches are different from alcohol hangovers but may occur with a hangover, because they can both result from drinking alcohol. Alcoholic drinks are among the several substances that enlarge blood
vessels, and can trigger and aggravate cluster headaches. Several classic foods trigger migraine headache, including chocolate, aged cheese, nuts, red wine, and beer. The resulting headache may not bloom until the next morning, along with a hangover. Cold
water and oxygen have no known effect on a hangover, but may relieve the migraine or cluster headache that was confused with or appeared concurrently with, the hangover headache.
Oxygen’s lack of effectiveness against hangovers is so will established scientifically that oxygen is used as a placebo in studies of alcohol withdrawal treatments.
Alcohol has many characteristics that make it unsuitable for both pre and post dive use.
Here are just a few things that make alcohol bad.
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, alcohol interferes with mental and motor control.
Taken before any activity, Alcohol reduces output of glucose by your liver, producing early fatigue.
Alcohol is unsuited for physical activities as a fluid replacement and is unsuccessful as a loader or replacer drink because, although alcohol is a concentrated source of carbohydrate calories, the calories are no metabolized like carbohydrate, making it
ineffective as an endurance energy source.
Alcohol contributes to dehydration.
I’m sure you know that Alcohol also causes: Inflamed Pancreas, cirrhosis of the liver, ulcers, High BP, High fat levels in the blood, disease of the coronary artery’s, damage to
the heart muscles, nerve damage, dementia, and depression.
Alcohol has no place in diving or exercise or any place else for that matter. Although I have found one good use for alcohol, it does absorb water and then evaporates quickly.
You can stick it in your ear (to help prevent swimmer’s ear).

Jim Hoffmann
Scuba Toys

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