Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: What Patients Need to Know 

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: What Patients Need to Know 

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a treatment that uses the inhalation of pure oxygen for wounds, infections, and various other ailments. It’s gentle and painless especially for those with non-healing wounds or poor blood circulation. In this article, we will discuss how HBOT works, its benefits, and how to decide if this treatment is right for you.

How Does HBOT Work?

HBOT uses a chamber or small room that is entirely sealed to prevent outside air from coming in. The atmospheric pressure in the space is raised to three times higher, which means that during treatment, triple the amount of pure oxygen is entering your lungs compared to normal levels.

Oxygen in its purest form promotes production of new blood vessels and tissue repair. When healing a wound or infection, oxygen is carried through the body by red blood cells away from the heart and to the affected site. Oxygen helps encourage the growth of new cells, tissues, and skin while preventing infection, killing bacteria, and reducing inflammation.

Various other ailments can also be treated by HBOT, including decompression sickness, bone infections, radiation injuries, or diabetic and ulcerative wounds. However, patients should be aware that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration  has no conclusive evidence that HBOT is safe or effective for some diseases and conditions, such as asthma, heart disease, and stroke.

What Should I Expect Before Starting HBOT?

HBOT is a completely non-invasive treatment that requires very little work on the part of the patient. Most often, the patient will be able to relax and watch TV while spending anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours breathing in the pure oxygen.

Before your session, you may need to avoid specific medications, such as chemotherapies or use of topical ointments that could interfere with the oxygen’s ability to target affected sites. Be sure to consult with your doctor about the medications you use prior to your first session.

During your session, you may sit in either a room or in an enclosed chamber. It’s important to communicate your preference with your doctor prior to treatment, especially if you experience anxiety or claustrophobia. Keep in mind that breathing in pure oxygen can exacerbate claustrophobia.

After your session, typical side effects include fatigue, fluid buildup in your ears and/or sinuses, and possible ear or sinus pain brought on by the raised air pressure of the space on the body. However, those with specific pre-existing conditions may experience more severe side effects from the therapy. Be sure to inform your doctor of any other health complications before moving forward with HBOT.

To learn more about HBOT and how oxygen aids in the healing process, check out these articles:

What to Know Before Receiving Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber Therapy – University of Michigan
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: Don’t Be Misled  – FDA
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy – Cleveland Clinic

From the Acuity Family, we hope this article assists in your exploration of alternative wound and infection treatment options. However, we encourage you to speak to your doctor first to discuss your current health conditions, availability of treatment, and any other HBOT – related concerns.


Nutrition Tips for Patients with Limited Mobility

Nutrition Tips for Patients with Limited Mobility

The food we eat largely impacts our bodies’ ability to perform various functions, such as healing during recovery. However, some patients may experience difficulty eating and getting the nutrients they need often due to complications with mobility. Some patients may experience limited hand mobility that prevents them from using utensils, while others may struggle with mobility of the mouth and cannot properly chew or swallow. 

Taking the challenges of limited mobility into account, here is a brief guide that offers alternative ways to stay hydrated and healthy during recovery. 

 Properly Hydrating with Limited Mobility

Staying hydrated is important outside of recovery, but even more so during. Hydration is responsible for helping deliver nutrients to cells. Without proper and adequate hydration, the recovery process may be prolonged or interrupted due to hydration-related complications.

 Drinking water isn’t the only way to stay hydrated, though. For some patients with limited mobility, trying to swallow a large quantity of liquid is very difficult, so eating solid foods with high water content can be a good alternative. To improve hydration through food, increase the amount of produce in your diet and focus on greens with high water content. Some examples of hydrating fruit and produce are watermelon, strawberries, cucumbers, and lettuce.  

Another way to stay hydrated is to consume water in a different state. Take, for instance, Jello, which is simply powdered gelatin and flavoring added to water. Jello’s hydration-filled gelatinous form makes it easier for people with difficulty swallowing or chewing to consume. Patients with dysphagia are often placed on a thickened liquid diet to help them swallow more easily. 

Getting Adequate Nutrition with Limited Mobility

Eating a well-balanced diet has a significant impact on how quickly and effectively you heal. It is through a wide variety of foods that our bodies receive calories, proteins, vitamins, and various other nutrients. These all play their own part in different body functions and processes. Without them, recovery is compromised. However, some patients who experience limited mobility may have trouble consuming necessary levels of nutrient-dense foods.  

Aside from food, the most obvious way to get more nutrients is to take vitamins or supplements in the form of pills, capsules, or powders. For patients who experience trouble swallowing pills, adding powder supplements to drinks is a good way to get nutrients more directly. If the patient just has difficulty consuming solid food, blending nutrient-dense foods can be a great alternative, but please consult your care team  to make sure that the patient is consuming the correct texture of food and consistency of liquids to prevent aspiration. For those who can have smoothies, adding fruits and greens such as kale is a tasty way to get the vitamins and nutrients your body needs. 

Check out the resources below for more information on nutrition, nutrient-rich foods, and various ways to stay hydrated and adequately nourished:

 19 Water-Rich Foods That Help You Stay Hydrated by Healthline
The American College of Gastroenterology’s dysphagia guide
AARP article on Healing and Nutrition
Changing Your Diet: Choosing Nutrient-rich Foods by the American Academy of Family Physicians

From the Acuity Family, we wish you or your loved ones a speedy and successful recovery.