KRONSHAGEN, Germany -- A study by the German Naval Medical Institute suggests that scuba divers are not at greater risk of accelerated decline in lung function.
The researchers performed pulmonary function tests on 590 healthy male members of the German Navy -- 468 were military scuba divers and 122 were submariners, or the control group.
Subjects were followed over an average of five years and underwent at least three lung function tests, including testing for FEV1, or first second of a forced expiratory maneuver, and FVC, or forced vital capacity.
A minimum interval of one year between the first and last measurement was required. While baseline FEV1 of both groups exceeded predicted values, researchers found no significant difference in the decline of FEV1 between the two groups.
However, smoking, age and above-average baseline FEV1 contributed to lung function decline, according to the study published in the journal Chest.
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