"The Bends" is a manifestation of decompression sickness that is caused
by the formation of nitrogen bubbles in the blood and tissues after a
rapid reduction in the surrounding pressure and is characterized by
pain in the joints and abdomen. The Bends occur when compressed air
(via scuba tanks) is breathed in at depths. As a diver rises to the
surface (reducing the surrounding water pressure), the nitrogen
component of the air expands and changes from a dissolved state into
bubbles — not a good thing.
Whales don't get the bends because they don't breathe compressed air at
depths, rather the air they breathe is taken in at the surface.
Similarly, a free-diving human who also breathes only at the surface
does not experience the bends.
On Sunday, March 23, 2003, at 11:54 AM, Toleman wrote:
> Please can you tell me why mammals such as whales and dolphins do not
> suffer from the
> "bends" as humans do?
> Judith Toleman.
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