It is impossible to know when one may suffer from hypoxia and to determine its type and intensity. This is also one of the most important factors which render a protective mechanism, such as hypoxia, risky especially when we dive alone and we don’t take someone along who have elementary knowledge of the subject matter. Where the diver shows only loss of muscle control it is evident that he may be fully aware of the fact that something is definitely going wrong, always according to the intensity of the hypoxic episode. Where the diver loses his consciousness by 99% he definitely won’t remember a thing, namely the diver will suffer from memory loss. Even when he regains consciousness, it is very likely that the diver may not realise that something has gone wrong earlier. Generally speaking, it is impossible to know when one is likely to suffer from hypoxia, whereas some well-trained and experienced athletes of apnea with hundreds of hours of training are likely to know when would be the right time to cease their effort in order to avoid experiencing symptoms of hypoxia.
For all individuals, breath-holding shall be divided into two phases. One of them is called “smooth”, basically because during the non-breathing period the diver does not experience discomfort or pain at any time and diaphragm contractions seem unlikely to occur. However, as the blood level of carbon dioxide (CO2) becomes higher and exceeds its critical levels, “smooth” phase succeeds the “rough” one. In the “rough” phase, the diver experiences increasingly strong contractions of the diaphragm which gradually render the persistence of apnea impossible. The increasingly strong contractions of the diaphragm result from the rise of the carbon dioxide (CO2) levels and the fall of oxygen (O2) levels in the blood.
Gradually, the diaphragm contractions become even more intense due to the low levels of oxygen in the blood. The main cause for an hypoxic episode to occur is the low oxygen concentration level in the blood. The well-trained and experienced athletes of apnea are likely to know when would be the right time to cease their effort, because they are able to distinguish between the diaphragm contractions caused by the carbon dioxide concentration in the blood from those caused by the inadequate oxygen supply.
This does not by any means indicate that all well-trained and experienced athletes are able to train themselves alone but rather with a dive buddy
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