Hyperbaric Therapy

There are many reasons that one may want to consider hyperbaric therapy. It’s an especially effective treatment for the common symptoms seen in frequent scuba divers. Here is what you need to know about hyperbaric oxygen therapy benefits and scuba diving:

Scuba Diving and Decompression Sickness

If you are an avid scuba diver, you may be aware of what decompression sickness is. For those who are unaware, decompression sickness is what happens when people quickly return to a normal altitude from significant depths.

Decompression sickness allows nitrogen and other gases to enter the bloodstream. The gas creates bubbles and can cause different symptoms and pain. Avid scuba divers call this “the bends.”

When someone has decompression sickness, they may experience the following symptoms:

  • Balance issues
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Joint and muscle aches or pain
  • Numbness
  • Paralysis
  • Rash
  • Weakness

The FDA has approved hyperbaric oxygen therapy as a treatment for those who are suffering from decompression sickness.

How Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment Helps Decompression Sickness 

To treat decompression sickness through hyperbaric oxygen treatment, it is key to start as soon as possible. Once you enter the chamber, your body is flooded with 100% oxygen. Hyperbaric oxygen decreases the gases out of the bubbles produced from the decompression sickness. The oxygen is delivered to the tissues that have been compromised. The gas is forced out, which can then alleviate the symptoms you may have.

Decompression sickness symptoms may go away on their own, while others may be more difficult to recover from. There may be some symptoms that appear to go away on their own but may come back to being a lifelong issue. Hyperbaric oxygen chambers may assist in decreasing platelet aggregation, edema, and other issues that decompression sickness can cause.

The severity of the decompression sickness can determine the amount of time spent in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. If you are a scuba diver or if you are interested in becoming one, you may want to consider hyperbaric therapy to help prevent or alleviate the symptoms of decompression sickness.

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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Benefits

Other than assisting in the healing process of those who have decompression sickness, there are many other hyperbaric oxygen therapy benefits. Here are some benefits to consider:

Infection Treatment

When you have an infection, the bacteria that has caused it is likely in a low-oxygen area. These low-oxygen bacteria are called anaerobic. When you enter a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, your blood is flooded with 100% pure oxygen. The oxygen provided by hyperbaric therapy can also create white blood cells. The creation of white blood cells can assist in the elimination of fungi and bacteria. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment can help with a variety of different infections.

Wound Healing 

The healing process can go on for quite some time, depending on the severity of the wound. Hyperbaric oxygen may be able to assist in revving and accelerating the healing process. It does this by flooding the blood with 100% oxygen. When the blood has a surplus of oxygen, the body’s healing process can become quicker.

The oxygen can find its way to the area that needs to be healed and then replaces the harmful bacteria. Wounds may heal more quickly when there is more oxygen in the blood. The healing process of many different wounds, like cosmetic surgery, skin grafts, and others, may be helped with hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Other FDA-Approved Conditions

Other than decompression sickness, there are a few other conditions that have been approved by the FDA. Here are some conditions that the FDA has validated benefits for through hyperbaric oxygen therapy:

  • Blood loss
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Compartment syndrome
  • Compromised skin grafts and flaps
  • Crush injury
  • Diabetic foot ulcers
  • Diabetic nephropathy
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Gas embolism
  • Gas gangrene
  • Intracranial abscess
  • Necrotizing fasciitis
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Sensorineural hearing loss
  • Soft tissue and bony necrosis
  • Thermal burns

These areas have been FDA-approved hyperbaric oxygen treatments for these conditions. Hyperbaric oxygen is a natural alternative to other methods of treatment. To find out if your condition may be assisted with this treatment, contact your physician.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Scuba Divers

As a scuba diver, you may not experience decompression sickness. If you do, it is key to know that hyperbaric oxygen treatment may be beneficial to you. If you are curious about hyperbaric oxygen therapy benefits, contact a facility today.

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