16 July 2018
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Plymouth-based diving health charity DDRC Healthcare are encouraging divers to check their fitness for free as they bring a mobile health kiosk to Plymouth.
The In Deep Diving Centre at Plymouth’s Mount Batten Watersports and Activities Centre is hosting the RNLI’s Wellpoint dive health machine for the next six weeks.
The RNLI and DDRC are offering the free, self-service check-up as part of a longstanding collaboration aimed at reducing the number of health-related diving incidents in the UK.
In the past 10 years, an average of 13 divers died each year in UK waters. There is strong evidence to suggest that non-diving related medical incidents, such as heart attacks, played a part in many of these deaths.
The RNLI and DDRC want divers to understand the impact their health can have on their ability to dive safety – an issue that often goes ignored. This is especially important for male divers over 45, who are statistically at greater risk of experiencing a medical incident while diving.
In Deep Diving Centre has secured an ideal location for the kiosk in the main reception area of the Mount Batten Centre for the next six weeks. And although the campaign is directed at divers, anyone can have a go!
The machine gives a quick and easy indication of your general health in just 10 minutes. The machine measures your heart rate, blood pressure, weight, body mass index (BMI) and body fat. It also estimates your risk of developing cardiovascular disease in the next 10 years as well as your heart age.
The results are confidential and neither the kiosk nor the RNLI store any personal details. Divers can take away a printout of their results or have them sent by email. While the kiosk is not a substitute for medical advice, the RNLI and DDRC hope it will encourage divers to speak to their GP or other health professional if their results suggest an elevated risk of heart disease.
As a world-renowned centre of excellence in diving medicine, DDRC Healthcare has been conducting research into the health of divers for many years,looking into conditions that might affect their ability to dive safely. The charity also offers advice on diving with medical conditions on its website: www.ddrc.org.
Dr Gary Smerdon, DDRC Healthcare’s CEO and Research Director said: “We are delighted to make the kiosk available in a prime location for divers from across the South West and beyond. It is really important to have an understanding of your personal health and fitness to fully enjoy your diving and to dive safely. This campaign simply encourages people to seek health advice and potentially make lifestyle changes if they might be at higher risk of heart disease. I would encourage everyone to give it a try, even if you are not a diver!”