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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
An Overview for the Treatment of Non-Healing Wounds

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a method in which a patient breathes 100% oxygen while under increased atmospheric pressure in a sealed chamber. This relatively new technique to treat and heal non-healing wounds has gained popularity in recent years due to proven results that patients typically experience while receiving the therapy. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is also used in conventional treatment for decompression sickness, severe carbon monoxide poisoning, certain, injuries, skin infections; delayed radiation injury; and certain bone or brain infections. In addition, HBOT is claimed to destroy disease-causing microorganisms, alleviate chronic fatigue syndrome, and decrease allergy symptoms.

How It Works

Non-healing wounds occur due to a "tissue hypoxia" which is the lack of healing oxygen to that area and is most common in diabetics. Additionally, non-healing wounds can happen to anyone with compromised blood flow. The lack of oxygen to a wound will lead to the accumulation of toxic substances like ammonia. When this occurs, the healing process is impaired and the wound becomes highly susceptible to infections.

In order to treat non-healing wounds, HBOT quickly delivers high concentrations of 100% oxygen to the bloodstream. This assists in the healing process of wounds and is effective in fighting certain types of infections. It also helps to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels, which can improve circulation and wound healing.

This increase in oxygen allows for increased circulation to areas in spite of swelling or inflammation. At the same time, the increased pressure decreases the swelling and inflammation.

This additional oxygen helps in the healing process and enhances the white blood cells' ability to fight infection. It can promote the development of new capillaries, which are the blood vessels that connect arteries to veins. It also helps the body build new connective tissue and helps impaired organs to function better.

Also, by providing the cells with an abundance of oxygen, the cells react by becoming more enlivened. The cells can now function more efficiently and carry out their processes in an accelerated manner.

For diabetics, the physiological benefits for patients are large with improved oxygenation to help rebuild collagen and capillaries for healthy tissue. HBOT greatly improves diabetic ulcers which can impair movement for many diabetics. With proper traditional treatments for diabetes, HBOT is effective for unhealed diabetic wounds and reduces patient's pain and nerve problems caused by diabetes.

The Patient Experience:

The patient is surrounded by 100 percent oxygen, which circulates throughout the chamber. Normally, we breathe about 20 percent oxygen and 80 percent nitrogen.

During treatment, pressure is increased up to twice the normal level. Oxygen is dissolved into the blood and all body tissues and fluids at up to 20 times the normal concentration.

Patients may experience the sensation of "fullness" in the ears, similar to the feeling experienced during flying. This is because the eardrums are responding to the change in pressure.

When oxygen begins to circulate, pressure or "compression" is gradually increased over a period of 15 to 20 minutes. When the chamber reaches the prescribed pressure, patients may rest or sleep; if healthy enough and conscious, they can even watch television or talk with family over an intercom. The treatment usually lasts 1 to 2 hours.

Near the end of treatment, pressure is gradually decreased. During decompression, the ears may pop.

Patients usually experience no negative effects from the therapy, although they may feel lightheaded for a few minutes after treatment.

Success Stories:

There are many success stories around the world for people who have done the oxygen therapy. One woman in particular, Rachel R. had wound complications due to diabetes.

Rachel had no feeling in her feet and was not able to walk without assistance. After two weeks of HBOT treatment, Rachel began to feel sensation in her feet and the ulcer on her foot started to heal. Rachel is a real life example of how HBOT has helped the treatment of non-healing wounds.

Another patient success is Vito P., an 82 year old man with a history of diabetes for 22 years. Vito suffered from severe diabetic neuropathy with burning, shooting pain in his toes to his thighs and had difficulty walking. After three weeks of HBOT sessions, Vito's neuropathy was almost completely resolved with only some numbness in his feet. HBOT has worked for Rachel and Vito even though both patients have been affected by diabetes and were suffering from the diseases effects for many years. Now, they are both actively moving around and walking with barely any symptoms of foot ulcers. They both are very happy with the HBOT treatment and what the therapy has done for their lives.

Choosing HBOT might be right for you.

Overall, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is an effective way to treat non-healing wounds when other medications or treatments are not successful. HBOT is a harmless method of using pure oxygen to help people live their lives better and dramatically reduce the effects of diabetes and other diseases. HBOT has already helped many people all over the world live their lives better. Contact your primary care physician to get more information on HBOT to determine if it is the right fit for you.

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