Conditions affect the safety of divers in the following ways:
Divers need to have a reasonable level of physical and physiological fitness because of the obligatory stresses of the underwater environment. They must also be free of other limitations compromising safety in the underwater milieu. The diver with Sjogren's Syndrome should be in good physical conditioning, be in remission from the acute processes of the disease, be capable of physically managing his/her entry, exit, scuba gear and be capable of assisting a buddy with a diving problem. They should be taking no medication that would alter their ability to function or make decisions.
SJöGREN'S SYNDROME (SS)
Ocular symptoms occur when atrophy of the secretory epithelium of the lacrimal glands causes desiccation of the cornea and conjunctiva (keratoconjunctivitis sicca. In advanced cases, the cornea is severely damaged and epithelial strands hang from the corneal surface (keratitis filiformis). This would be adverse to diving.
One third of SS patients develop enlarged parotid glands that are usually firm, smooth, fluctuating in size, and mildly tender. Chronic salivary gland enlargement is rarely painful. When salivary glands atrophy, saliva diminishes, and the resulting extreme dryness of the mouth and lips (xerostomia) inhibits chewing and swallowing and promotes tooth decay and calculi formation in the salivary ducts. Taste and smell faculties may be lost. This may reduce the diver's ability to manage the mouthpiece of the regulator or snorkel.
Drying out may also develop in the skin and in mucous membranes of
nose, throat, larynx, bronchi, vulva, and vagina. Alopecia may occur.
of the respiratory tract often leads to lung infections and sometimes
fatal pneumonia. Associated mucous membrane problems could lead to
equalizing the middle ears or pulmonary barotrauma.