Discover the various uses and benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) and also the potential side effects of this medical treatment. Learn when it may be appropriate and when it may not be suitable.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a medical treatment in which a patient is exposed to high levels of oxygen in a sealed chamber. The increased pressure in the chamber helps to force oxygen into the body’s tissues, where it can promote healing and fight infection.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy has a number of uses
- Treating decompression sickness, a condition that can occur in divers who surface too quickly
- Healing chronic non-healing wounds, such as diabetic foot ulcers and pressure sores
- Fighting infections caused by certain types of bacteria, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
- Improving outcomes for certain types of burns
- Treating radiation injuries and osteoradionecrosis (damage to the jaw bones caused by radiation therapy for cancer)
- Treating carbon monoxide poisoning
- Improving symptoms associated with conditions such as Lyme disease, migraines, and traumatic brain injury.
- Decompression sickness: This condition can occur in divers who surface too quickly, and it is caused by dissolved nitrogen in the bloodstream coming out of solution and forming bubbles, leading to damage in various organs such as lungs, skin, and brain. HBOT is used to help reduce symptoms and prevent further damage.
- Chronic non-healing wounds: Diabetes, peripheral vascular diseases, and other conditions lead to non-healing wounds, especially in the legs. HBOT helps to improve the healing of such wounds by stimulating the production of new blood vessels and increasing the oxygen levels in the affected tissue.
- Infections: Certain types of bacteria, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), can survive in low-oxygen environments and be resistant to antibiotics. HBOT can increase the amount of oxygen delivered to the site of infection, making it harder for these bacteria to survive.
- Burns: HBOT can help to improve the outcomes for certain types of burns by reducing the size of the burn wound, decreasing the risk of infection, and promoting healing.
- Radiation injuries and osteoradionecrosis: Radiation therapy for cancer can cause damage to the surrounding tissue, which can lead to the development of necrosis (death of tissue). HBOT can help to decrease inflammation and promote healing in these areas.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning: Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that is toxic to humans when inhaled. HBOT can help to decrease the amount of CO that is bound to the hemoglobin in the blood, allowing it to be eliminated from the body more quickly.
HBOT is considered generally safe, but like any medical procedure, it can have side effects. These can include:
- Ear and sinus pain due to changes in pressure
- A temporary decrease in vision
- A temporary worsening of certain skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis.
It is important to note that HBOT may not be suitable for everyone. People with certain medical conditions such as emphysema, certain lung diseases, or a tendency to develop blood clots should not undergo the therapy. Also, people who have recently undergone certain types of surgery or who have had a recent middle ear or sinus infection should avoid HBOT. In addition, pregnant women, people with a history of seizures, or those who are taking certain types of medications may also be advised not to undergo HBOT.
In conclusion, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a medical treatment that uses increased pressure and oxygen levels to promote healing and fight infection. While it can be beneficial in certain medical conditions, it is not suitable for everyone and may have certain side effects. It is important to consult with a qualified medical professional to determine if HBOT is appropriate for your individual case.