What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a cutting-edge treatment method that administers oxygen at elevated pressures, usually ranging from 1.5 to 3 times the standard atmospheric pressure. This heightened oxygen pressure facilitates improved circulation throughout the body, amplifying the innate cellular and tissue regeneration processes that take place in all bodily organs. Furthermore, the augmented oxygen supply enhances the delivery of essential nutrients to the body’s cells and tissues, ultimately contributing to more effective healing and playing a role in illness prevention.
How safe are the Hyperbaric Oxygen Chambers?
Clinical experience reports have found the hyperbaric oxygen therapy to be safe. Hyperbaric Oxygen chambers are regarded as one of the safest devices that can be implied in both professional and personal use. The absence of oxygen cylinders in these devices considerably reduces the risk of explosions and injuries. The user can continuously detect and modify the parameters of the device with the help of the mirror-control system. Moreover, depressurization takes place in 40 second sin case of an emergency. In addition to this, the device is sensitive to power failures and automatically stops the device and opens the doors, which marks as another strong point in terms of safety of these devices.
What are the side effects of this procedure?
- Headache and lightheadedness
This is a common side effect of HBOT therapy and is expected to occur. It should vanish after a short while but if it persists, it is better to consult with your healthcare provider.
- Trauma to middle ear
The middle ear is an air filled cavity that connects to the throat via Eustachian tube and this cavity is situated behind the ear drum. When the atmospheric pressure rises, the pressure in the middle ear cannot be equalized with the external atmospheric pressure which results in inward deviation of the ear drum. This can also cause rupture of the ear drum or even fluid leaking from the ear.
- Lung collapse
It may again result due to changes in the atmospheric pressure.
- Sinus problems
Just like the middle ear, sinuses are also air-filled cavities in the skull. When the external atmospheric pressure rises, it can result in pain or even bleeding into the sinuses.
- Vision problems
Vision problems associated with HBOT may include near sightedness. This results due to temporary changes in the eye lens. This temporary change usually reverses within 6-8 weeks after the treatment is stopped. In most cases, the changes won’t reverse completely. Moreover, hyperbaric oxygen therapy shows improvement in people who suffer from presbyopia.
- Cataract Maturation:
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has not shown to cause cataract but it worsens the pre-existing cataract.
- Change in Lens Shape:
The lens of the eye can change its shape due to external air pressure. This changes reverses within a span of 6-8 weeks.
Seizures may occur due to increase of oxygen to toxic levels in the central nervous system. This effect is more pronounced in patients with pre-existing seizure disorders. These seizures can be terminated by stopping the exposure of the patient to the supplemental oxygen.
- Oxygen poisoning
Raised oxygen concentrations can prove to be harmful to the lungs. Symptoms include fluid in lungs, chest pain, shortness of breath and eventually, lung failure. If oxygen exposure is stopped in the early stages, the condition reverses but in case of patients that require prolonged or frequent exposures, it can result in symptoms of oxygen poisoning and toxicity.
- Hypoglycemia (decreased sugar levels)
Low blood sugar levels may result in diabetic patients who are undergoing insulin therapy. In these patients, it is advised to consume a good meal before coming for the treatment and proper surveillance of blood sugar levels is maintained.
Some people are claustrophobic and should not opt for hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Claustrophobia is the fear of closed spaces and some patients may develop this fear due to closed and confined nature of the hyperbaric oxygen chamber. Some patients may even develop a worsening of their symptoms.
A very rare hazard of hyperbaric oxygen chambers is the occurrence of a fire in the chamber since oxygen is a combustible gas.
What can you expect during oxygen therapy?
During oxygen therapy patients will be. Seated or lying down inside special chambers that provide oxygen at increased pressures. This type of therapy is only prescribed by doctors or healthcare professionals. Patients are required to wear a gown made of 100% cotton. The treatment typically lasts for 45 minutes. Can be extended up to a maximum of 300 minutes depending on the individual treatment plan. Patients usually need to visit their doctor five days a week for a period of 4 to 6 weeks although this may vary depending on the treatment plan.
Hyperbaric oxygen chambers https://oxyhelp.com/hyperbaric-oxygen-chambers/ deliver levels of oxygen to help injured tissues recover faster. Some individuals may experience a sensation to changes, in ear pressure that occur during air travel or scuba diving. This can be relieved by swallowing or chewing gum.
It’s important to mention that people, with claustrophobia might find this procedure challenging. However there are chambers called R3 chambers that provide space and offer a comfortable experience specifically for claustrophobic individuals. During the therapy session patients have the option to listen to music watch TV or even sleep inside the chamber.
A Little Apprehension:
Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy is a relatively safe procedure and does not cause a major harm to the human body systems. However, a few side effects have been documented with regular use of HBOT therapy which middle ear trauma being the most common side effect. Other side effects such as hypoglycemia, vision problems, lens changes, seizures, and oxygen poisoning are rare. So, you can opt for HBOT therapy because the benefits of the therapy certainly outweigh the side effects.