Scuba diving in for diabetes
Bec Johnson is at her happiest exploring the ocean’s depths.
But until recently, the type 1 diabetic was held back from pursuing her passion in her home country.
Ms Johnson, 33, could not get medical clearance to scuba dive in Australia and had to travel to Thailand to get the training she needed. The Australian Diabetes Society this month changed its regulations to allow people with the condition to dive.
Ms Johnson, chief executive of the Telethon Type 1 Diabetes Family Centre, was instrumental in the change.
“When I found out I couldn’t do my dive training in Australia, it was devastating,” she said.
“I got medical clearance overseas — I just had to prove I could control my blood sugar levels and that I understood how exercise impacted my body.
“People with type 1 diabetes have been allowed to dive in the UK, US and Europe for more than 10 years.”
Ms Johnson spoke at last year’s South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society conference in Micronesia, where she dived with doctors each day. Armed with a deeper insight into how diving affected diabetics, she helped convince the ADS to change its position on the issue.
ADS chief executive Sof Andrikopoulos said the society recognised “that with appropriate preparation, experience and adherence to the new recommendations, people with diabetes are able to dive safely”.
Scuba diver Bec Johnson, who has type 1 diabetes.