Stroke and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an up-and-coming player in the field of restoring brain function after a stroke. We discuss the benefits of HBOT and what it does for stroke victims.

One of the most exciting findings to come out of the research studying strokes and hyperbaric oxygen therapy is the finding that hyperbaric oxygen therapy after a stroke improves the brain’s neuroplasticity.

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Stroke Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

When the blood supply to the brain is temporarily cut off, a stroke is the resulting brain trauma. The brain needs constant oxygen to survive, and brain cells begin dying as soon as a stroke starts. Blood supply can cut off in any area of the brain. The location of the blood clot/supply interruption determines what skills and knowledge are affected by the strokeand how severe the damage is.

Until fairly recently, damage sustained from a stroke was thought to be untreatable. The only solution is prevention and early detection of a stroke, which should limit damage. Regardless, strokes still happen and brain damage is still sustained.

One of the most exciting findings to come out of the research studying strokes and hyperbaric oxygen therapy is the finding that hyperbaric oxygen therapy after a stroke improves the brain’s neuroplasticity[1].

Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to reroute blood vessels and brain resources to skills and abilities that were lost during brain damage. For instance, if one loses fine motor function during a stroke, a brain with high neuroplasticity would reroute and help another part of the brain take up fine motor abilities. Greater neuroplasticity means greater healing and a possible return to what life was like before the stroke.

The tissue in your brain that is affected by the stroke is already affected by not getting enough blood. However, with HBOT, these tissues can still get enough oxygen.

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Stroke Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Another exciting part of research surrounding HBOT and stroke injuries studies the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on a brain that has suffered damage due to a stroke. The tissue in your brain that is affected by the stroke is already affected by not getting enough blood. However, with HBOT, these tissues can still get enough oxygen. More oxygen dissolves into your body during HBOT, which allows plasma to deliver oxygen to tissue that is not receiving oxygen from the blood[2].

Furthermore, HBOT can help a stroke-damaged brain restore regular neurological function. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy assists in returning the body to a normal state of tissue growth, metabolism, and blood flow. After a brain injury, HBOT works specifically to help the brain regrow in these three areas[3]. New tissue growth and blood flow are two of the main factors in determining how well a stroke victim recovers from his or her stroke.

The key to getting the most from hyperbaric oxygen therapy after a stroke is to seek out HBOT as soon as possible after the stroke. Every day that passes after a stroke reduces the brain’s ability to bounce back from its injury. The sooner you get a stroke victim into regular HBOT, the more likely that they will be able to lead a normal life again.

This is particularly important for patients who have other disabilities or diagnoses. The loss of the ability to speak, eat, or move can lead to even greater limitations and may leave the patient susceptible to more serious health conditions.

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