Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a type of medical treatment that uses increased atmospheric pressure to push oxygen into the body’s tissues. This therapy is used in many cases of decompression sickness or air embolism, as well as other conditions such as carbon monoxide poisoning and chronic wounds. HBOT is also used for treating decompression sickness because it reduces the risk of central nervous system injury that can occur at high altitudes.
Benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
The benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy are extensive. It has shown to be effective in treating and healing wounds, injuries, and chronic diseases. This form of therapy is used to successfully heal gangrene that is non-healing by increasing the blood supply and oxygen to the area that is infected. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy has also been used to treat many conditions such as carbon monoxide poisoning or decompression sickness which causes pain in joints every time a person goes on an airplane.
One of the biggest benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy is the ability to offer a safe and effective alternative treatment for those with an open wound, infection, or other trauma. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can also be useful in cases where there are symptoms of compromised circulation such as tissue death (gangrene), peripheral arterial disease, brain injury and more.
Increased blood flow: The increased oxygen flow experienced by patients during HBOT allows for increased blood flow which in turn increases cell growth and reduces inflammation.
One way in which hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be beneficial to patients is through improved nutrition absorption from cells near the wound site, which present fresh tissue with nutrients that enable it to heal faster.
How Does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Work?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy brings the body’s tissues into equilibrium with atmospheric pressure by supplying them with an increased amount of oxygen than they would receive under normal circumstances by allowing it to be dissolved from the air we breathe more readily into our blood stream when we are underwater or when our lungs are compressed at atmospheric pressure (hyperbaric).
Who Should Consider Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
People who suffer from chronic medical conditions such as osteoporosis, Multiple Sclerosis, and Cancer. Other conditions include but are not limited to Carbon Monoxide Poisoning and Acute Mountain Sickness.
Is it Safe to Use Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy with Other Medications or Conditions?
There are many possible conditions when it could be too dangerous to use HBOT, or when using HBOT may not be recommended. This includes:
- heart disease or certain cancers such as lung, esophagus, larynx, or bladder cancer.
- aneurysms in the brain stem and neck areas.
- any type of active infection anywhere in the body including tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
- Patients that have anemia, hypoglycemia, hypertension, a seizure disorder or diabetes should wait until the condition is under control before beginning HBOT treatment. Also patients with severe allergic reactions to seafood such as shrimp and shellfish should avoid HBOT.
- Patients currently taking anticoagulants (blood thinners) should check with their doctor about using this therapy.
- People who are using oxygen at home and are “oxygen dependent” for life support of any sort should not use HBOT.