>The Medical Form
>Many nationally known physicians, including many DAN physicians, have developed a medical form that assists doctors unfamiliar with diving medicine in the evaluation medical fi tness for scuba diving. Divers who do not reveal current medications or medical conditions defeats its purpose, which is to protect their health and well-being.
>In our collective experience at DAN, this omission of medical information by divers occurs for a couple of reasons: some simply don't understand the significance an illness may have during a dive; or, some older divers advise beginners they don't need to put down everything. One individual may tell a new diver: "I dive with migraines, and I don't have any problems." The uninitiated diver is likely to believe a "more experienced" voice at the expense of the instructor's directions.
>Honesty on the medical form begins with trust. If you're an instructor or retailer who trains students, a good way to start out with new students is to hand out The DAN Guide to Health and Fitness in Scuba Diving brochure. This brochure explains why a student should complete the medical form thoroughly.
>Some divers may simply not want to divulge a personal medical condition. Instructors should let students know that their information is confidential and make themselves available to speak in private with divers about medical issues. And remember, the DAN medical team is always available to speak with the student, the instructor or the student's physician.
>Migraine headaches can pose problems similar to the one the instructor discusses here. They can be triggered by certain foods or smells, alcohol, stress, immersion in water or exertion. Sometimes they can produce neurological symptoms such as visual loss and numbness, which may be indistinguishable from neurological decompression illness. Severity can range from mild head pain to disabling discomfort with nausea and vomiting.
>Some of the medicines used for migraine treatment and prevention can cause drowsiness, and could exacerbate nitrogen narcosis. Individual evaluation is required: while some migraine sufferers can dive safely, others may be advised against it.