Everyone knows that the brain needs oxygen, and a lack of oxygen can lead to brain damage. But are more than normal oxygen levels better for your brain? The question forms the basis of oxygen therapy (HBOT) in treating brain injury and some neurological disorders.
The therapy has been in use for years to treat conditions like decompression sickness. It is necessary to find out if hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help traumatic brain injury symptoms.
Traumatic brain injuries result in a disruption of oxygen flow to some parts of the brain. This leads to cell dysfunction and damage. The severity of brain injuries varies. Some injuries that lead to tissue damage can benefit from receiving excess oxygen.
The brain has a complex system of communication known as neurovascular coupling. The system works by summoning precise oxygen amounts to specific sections of the brain. The system does not use equal oxygen amounts in all areas simultaneously. HBOT can provide this function.
HBOT works by forcing more than normal oxygen into the blood vessels. This promotes healing in the damaged and oxygen-starved brain tissues. Some experts believe that getting hyper-oxygenated blood to the injured brain can help.
However, the therapy does not work for all types of brain injury. HBOT can be beneficial for severe or acute traumatic brain injury (TBI), but it is not ideal for mild brain injuries.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy helps provide 100 percent oxygen in a specific environment where air pressure increases gradually. The pressure increases by up to three times more than normal. The procedure happens in a hyperbaric chamber, a small room with masks or hoods for patients.
The chamber can also be a tube that looks like an MRI machine. The patients breathe pure oxygen in the pressurized environment, helping fill the lungs more efficiently. The oxygen gets into the bloodstream for use throughout the patient’s body.
Increasing the oxygen in the bloodstream through HBOT can be ideal in several situations. It can help return blood to its proper gas level. This is helpful in cases of carbon monoxide poisoning or decompression sickness. The therapy can also help promote healing or prevent infection of damaged tissues.
The therapy is beneficial for patients experiencing hypoxia, which is having very low oxygen levels. According to research, HBOT can reduce long-term cognitive impairment by almost 46 percent when performed early in carbon monoxide poisoning.
In addition to reducing swelling, HBOT helps promote healing associated with tissue damage. It is key when treating brain injuries. Traumatic brain injury is a term that describes different types of brain injuries.
Most TBIs are concussions, and many tend to be mild without apparent tissue damage or bleeding. Severe TBI occurs when the condition develops into a post-concussion syndrome. The symptoms can continue for several months after the injury. The extent of the injury will determine how beneficial HBOT can be.
For more on how hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help traumatic brain injury symptoms, visit Bagnell Brain Center at our office in Pinecrest, Florida. You can call (305) 889-7488 today to schedule an appointment.