Why don't freedivers get the bends when they come up as quickly as they do?
Is it because they hold their breath as opposed to breathing oxygen with SCUBA gear?
- 1 decade agoFavorite Answer
Even free divers can get bends. Our air consists out or 21% of oxygen, 71% of nitrogen and 1% other gases. Oxygen is "burned" by our body but nitrogen is an inert gas which is not used by our body and gets absorbed by our tissues. That means, the deeper we dive, the higher the pressure. The inhaled gas gets compressed and travels in our tissues where the pressure is at that moment is lower than the ambient pressure. So there is also a risk of DCS in repetetive freedives. There are several known cases with pearl divers in the pacific.
- SnaglefritzLv 71 decade ago
When you hold your breath and go deep the air in your body can adjust with the depth and has no effects it just becomes what you started with when you went down. Scuba is compressed air, not oxygen which becomes poisonous under pressure and can not be breathed. The Compressed air uses a regulator and this makes it easy to inhale under water when there a lot of pressure on your body trying to keep you from breathing. What happens is the compressed air gets into the Blood Stream and as a person comes up the water pressure is released and the compressed air expands to more than the body can handle. Hard to explain in a short way. When I was young a friend and me had this idea to breath under water. We took a Garden hose and attached it to some Styrofoam to keep one end out of the water and the other end we breathed through. IT Worked!!! But only for a few feet then the Water Pressure made it too hard to get air, Lungs were not strong enough to off set the water pressure. Compressed air will.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
The compressed air in the SCUBA tanks is not pure Oxygen.
I believe it is the Nitrogen that gets into the tissues over time and must be released & allowed to escape slowly.
The longer you are down, and the deeper you go, the more gets absorbed.
That is why they diver stop for a certain period at each level on the way up.
Freedivers don't get any extra Nitrogen, and don't stay down long enough to have it absorb into the tissues in enough volume to cause the bends.
- dragonrider707Lv 61 decade ago
Their breath is taken at the surface which is the same pressure as when you surface so you can surface as fast as you want to. If you use tanks you are taking a breath underwater. At 1 atmosphere which is 33 ft your lung capacity is cut in half. Therefore if you take a breath from a scuba tank and then surface above that level you have problems.
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