Hyperbaric Therapy for Stroke: Uses, Benefits, and Efficacy
Recent health statistics have indicated that stroke is amongst the top five causes of death in the United States.
Research studies conducted worldwide have also revealed that stroke affects one in six individuals and the likelihood of these patients experiencing a recurrence of this medical condition is relatively high.
What Are The Medical Complications Associated With Stroke?
Stroke is a serious affliction that can have a debilitating impact on the patients’ health. Neurologists claim that approximately 80% of stroke victims ail from a condition known as Acute Ischemic Stroke (AIS).
What Is Acute Ischemic Stroke?
AIS occurs due to an obstruction in the cerebral artery and patients ailing from this condition are known to experience serious neurological complications in their brain such as:
• Brain tissue hypoxia.
• Oxidative stress.
These above-mentioned conditions require immediate care as any delay in treatment can impair basic cognitive functions in stroke patients like speech, memory and motor skills. These cognitive disabilities directly affect the patients’ ability to interact socially and could lead to anxiety and depression in the long run.
The caregivers of the patients must commence requisite treatment at the earliest to enable the patients to gain a speedy recovery.
Currently, the medical community is increasingly suggesting the use of hyperbaric therapy for stroke treatment.
What Is Hyperbaric Therapy?
Oxygen is a proven natural healer that has been used by physicians to treat a wide range of maladies from centuries.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is an adjunctive treatment option that has been used by physicians to provide relief to patients from the late 1930s’ and relies on the use of pure, unadulterated oxygen.
This alternative therapy was initially used to provide relief for deep-sea divers seeking relief from decompression sickness. In later years, research teams led by top hyperbaric experts discovered numerous benefits of HBOT that could aid patients in coping with severe disorders such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, autism, and other debilitating health issues.
Hyperbaric Therapy For Stroke Relief And Recovery:
Hyperbaric therapy for stroke relief is being accepted worldwide by both patients and their caregivers as this treatment is simple, non-invasive and can be undertaken on an out-patient basis as it does not require overnight hospitalization. The feasibility of installing a hyperbaric chamber at home for stroke victims who are unable to travel long distances for treatment is another added advantage of this age-old treatment.
The neuroprotective qualities of HBOT whilst treating stroke patients in the chronic stages and resolving poststroke depression during rehabilitation have also made this a favored treatment method for stroke relief.
How Does Hyperbaric Therapy Aid Stroke Patients?
During HBOT, the stroke patient is placed in a pressurized hyperbaric chamber wherein the staff administers 100% pure oxygen at enhanced pressures that are 1.2 to 3 times greater than the levels present on the earth’s surface at sea level.
The elevated pressurized oxygen instantly blends into the body fluids and reaches the parts of the brain that are affected by the symptoms of Acute Ischemic Stroke.
The pressurized pure oxygen supply inhaled by the stroke patient during HBOT is known to improve the cerebral blood circulation by lowering the ischemic–reperfusion and hypoxia levels, thereby preventing further brain damage.
Medical professionals strongly recommend using hyperbaric therapy for stroke-related complications as detailed research reports by top hyperbaric experts have indicated that this treatment method is known to:
• Improve the arterial partial pressure of oxygen.
• Stimulate the neuroplasticity of brain tissues.
• Balance the blood-brain barrier.
• Decrease intra-cranial pressure.
• Lower cerebral edema.
HBOT For Oxidative Stress Relief:
Oxidative stress is known to trigger serious anomalies in the brain such as apoptosis and necrosis due to increased production of free radicals.
The increase in oxidative stress levels can lead to cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury due to hypoxia.
Prolonged hypoxia can lead to an imbalance between the antioxidants and oxidants present in the brain and delay the process of healing injured tissues indefinitely.
Undergoing hyperbaric therapy for stroke relief is known to curb the production of free radicals and restores the balance of antioxidants in the brain. This activity results in a significant reduction in oxidative stress levels and accelerates recovery.
Hyperbaric Therapy For Reducing Neuro-Inflammation In Stroke Patients:
AIS patients often experience neuroinflammation of the brain tissues due to the destruction of immune cells by leukocytes. The fresh surge of oxygenation delivered to a stroke patient during HBOT prevents the destruction of immune cells, promotes tissue repair, thereby lowering neuro-inflammation in the brain.
Stroke victims with these underlying conditions have displayed a considerable improvement in their brain immunity levels post undergoing regular hyperbaric therapy.
HBOT For Enhanced Neuro-Protection:
The few neuroprotective benefits of hyperbaric therapy for stroke patients that have been discovered during research programs are:
• Increase in expression of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF).
• Elevated levels of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF).
• An upsurge in Glial-Derived Neutrophic factor (GDNF).
The improved levels of BDNF, NGF and GDNF post HBOT aid the brain in preventing further damage to the neurons whilst activating the production of fresh tissue development. This process is also known to strengthen the cranial nerve, promote ischemic healing and enhance neuroprotection of brain tissues.
An estimated 2500 patients have undergone hyperbaric therapy for stroke-related ailments in the last three decades. The uses, benefits, and efficacy of hyperbaric therapy have resulted in the emergence of more than 500 HBOT facilities in the United States alone.
Presently, the high success rate of hyperbaric therapy for stroke relief is providing an optimistic ray of hope to millions of patients aspiring to lead their lives to the fullest.