DAN Membership Health Survey: Identified Risk Factors and Established Preventive Initiatives

The average age of recreational divers (DAN members) is increasing by one year every three years and have more chronic diseases. The purpose of the DAN Member Health Survey was to establish the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors, diabetes and asthma of DAN members. This survey also looked at members’ access to primary healthcare, their diving practices and the prevalence of common diving-related injuries.

This study concluded that diving injury rates may be higher than previously thought. Additionally, it found that surveyed DAN members were healthier than the general U.S. population.

This study was completed in 2013.

The annual rates of fatal diving injuries per number of participants increase with age of divers. Most of this increase is attributed to acute cardiac disorders, both in divers with preexisting and undocumented cardiac disease. However, neither the prevalence of cardiac diseases and cardiac risk factors nor the uses of preventive medical services among current divers are known. The age of divers is increasing following trends of increased participation of older population and thus the risk of fatal diving accidents could increase in the future due to increasing prevalence of cardiac diseases with age.

Fatality rates per population could be reduced by reducing frequency and severity of dive exposure but it is not known if older divers have been already using these strategies to mitigate their risks. General measures for prevention of cardiovascular diseases may also help to reduce fatality rates in scuba diving.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate current health status, use of preventive medical services, diving practices and prevalence of reported and unreported injuries in insured DAN members in the past one year.

An online survey was administered and over 5,000 individuals responded. From this valuable information DAN researchers concluded that surveyed DAN members were healthier than the general U.S. population and have better access to healthcare and utilize healthcare for preventative purposes more often than the general population. They also seem to have a better fitness level than their non-diving peers. However, researchers also found that diving injury rates may be higher than previously estimated.

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