Covid-19 has been around for over two years.
While things don’t seem to be as bad as they were in the beginning of the pandemic, the virus has not completely gone away and new strains continue to emerge.
Most new Covid-19 patients recover after a few days of testing positive for the virus.
However, there’s a percentage of people that show long-term problems even after recovering from the infection.
In some cases, these people were not seriously ill when they had the virus.
In this blog, we talk about how hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be beneficial to those experiencing long COVID symptoms.
What is Long Covid?
Long COVID, also known as post-COVID symptoms, refers to a wide range of new, returning, or lingering health problems that patients may encounter after four weeks of being infected with SARS-CoV-2.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), even persons who have never had any symptoms might develop long COVID, which can manifest as a variety of health problems and last for a long period.
According to Dr. Sanghavi of the American Medical Association, there are three categories of long Covid.
COVID-19 causes direct cell damage as a result of the virus, which can result in long-term effects.
The first category of long covid includes those who do not fully heal and continue to have symptoms as a result of the virus’s direct cell damage.
When a person’s symptoms are linked to continuous hospitalization, they fall into the second type of long Covid-19.
This occurs when someone remains bedridden for weeks in the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU).
There is a weakening in the muscles and cognitive brain impairment is present.
Post-traumatic stress disorder-like conditions, also known as post-ICU care syndrome, is caused by innate psychosocial stress.
This is due to long-term hospitalization. In the third category, symptoms appear after recovery.
Covid-19 shows a variety of symptoms among patients, with some 30 year old patients dying or senior patients coming out of recovery practically unscathed.
That’s because there are a variety of patient factors at work, representing the interaction between a person’s immune system and the impact that both have on the body.
Because of the interaction between inflammatory indicators and the immune system, these “symptoms that linger” are produced after healing.
Doctors are still attempting to figure out how the immune system and inflammatory indicators interact, but there’s no doubt that those are signs of a healthy immune system or an overactive inflammatory system.
Because Covid-19 affects all organ systems, the symptoms of long Covid are similar to Covid-19.
The fundamental systemic symptoms, according to Dr. Sanghavi, include weariness, post-COVID syndrome, and post-exercise malaise.
Patients may experience anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, and cognitive impairment, sometimes known as brain fog.
There’s also a loss of taste and smell, which can continue even after a negative test.
Symptoms of tachycardia and bradycardia include palpitation. Gastrointestinal problems and bowel troubles such as diarrhea, which can last for days, might cause a loss of appetite.
The most well-known respiratory symptoms are shortness of breath, which is caused by hypoxemia caused by lung injury.
Some patients have even had acute kidney injury, in which the kidneys do not completely heal from.
There are cases in which patients with chronic kidney disease have had to start long-term dialysis treatments after recovering from Covid.
Dr. Sanghavi also mentions patients who have hematologic concerns that end up having a blood clot.
Basically, no organ is spared when it comes to Covid-19 and there’s no way to effectively predict which organ will be affected.This is the same for long-term Covid symptoms.
How Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is Beneficial for Long Covid ?
Before we discuss how hyperbaric oxygen is beneficial for long Covid, let’s discuss how HBOT works.
The normal air we breathe has only 21% oxygen on average. When undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy, patients are made to breathe in pure oxygen in a highly pressurized chamber.
This set of conditions causes the body to absorb higher than normal amounts of oxygen, which then dissolves into the bloodstream and bodily tissues.
Symptoms of long Covid are described as a continuous infection that lasts for more than 12 weeks.
This diagnosis comes after all other possibilities have been ruled out.
One possibility is the infection makes some immune systems go into overdrive, attacking not just the virus but the person’s own tissues.
Inflammation is a physiological response that our bodies utilize to combat infection.
When a cell is damaged or infected, the immune system responds by producing molecules called cytokines, which are molecules designed to attack foreign organisms.
This reaction is what causes inflammation and is marked by five basic signs: redness, swelling, heat, discomfort, and loss of function, and while it can assist your body in fighting invasive organisms, it can also get out of hand, causing internal damage to your healthy cells.
Cytokine production can reach dangerously high levels in severe cases of viral infection.
Immune system cells release proinflammatory cytokines, which causes the body to produce more immune cells, which release even more cytokines, over and over in a positive feedback loop of cytokine creation known as a “cytokine storm.”
This is a dramatic immune response that damages organs such as the lungs and kidneys, and in some cases can even lead to death.
Cytokine storms are more prevalent in younger patients with hyperactive immune systems.
One of the most important applications of hyperbaric oxygen therapy is the reduction of inflammation through oxygenation.
Studies on hyperbaric oxygen therapy have shown to help reduce cytokine storms.
The treatment temporarily blocks the processes that trigger excessive production of proinflammatory cytokines by raising our oxygen levels, successfully keeping inflammation at safe levels.
Cases of Effective Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Long Covid
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has helped long Covid patients in certain cases.
Leanne Lawrence from the UK was featured on BBC and talked about how hyperbaric oxygen therapy helped her recover from long Covid.
She was admitted to the hospital for four days when she contracted Covid-19 and was bedridden for 35 days after going home.
She experienced extreme fatigue so all she could do was take a shower.
Leanne recalls having had terrible headaches that required her to stay in a dark room with no noise.
She also experienced tremors in her hands, feeling like she had pins and needles throughout her body, and it even caused her menstrual cycle to stop.
She was suggested to try hyperbaric oxygen therapy in one of her support groups and after two weeks, her health improved dramatically.
“I can stay up all day, I don’t have the heart palpitations, the pins and needles have stopped, I’ve no chronic fatigue,” Leanne said.
Featured in Bay News 9, Jennifer Lind mentioned that treatments of hyperbaric oxygen have shown a big difference in her health after experiencing lingering effects of Covid-19.
She was one out of ten patients treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy for long Covid, in which all ten patients showed significant improvements in symptoms.
In fact, none of the patients have had to return.
A study in 2021 took place over the course of 12 days, wherein ten consecutive patients underwent ten sessions of HBOT at 2.4 atmospheres.
Each treatment session lasted 105 minutes and consisted of three 30-minute oxygen exposures separated by 5-minute air breaks.
At day 1 and day 10, validated fatigue and cognitive score evaluations were conducted.
Wilcoxon signed-rank testing was used for statistical analysis, and effect sizes were provided alongside them.
The Chalder fatigue scale, global cognition, executive function, attention, information processing, and linguistic function all improved statistically significantly after undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Long Covid-related fatigue can be debilitating, and it can have a long-term impact on a patient’s lifestyle, employment, and relationships.
The findings show that HBOT has prospective benefits, with statistically significant outcomes after 10 sessions.
How is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Beneficial for Long Covid?
Can hyperbaric oxygen therapy be used for long Covid?
While hyperbaric oxygen therapy is not considered as an official Covid treatment, but because of its potential to reverse hypoxia, reduce neuro-inflammation, and enhance tissue oxygenation, it is currently being studied and explored as a successful treatment for long Covid symptoms.
Studies and clinical trials are presently being performed around the world to investigate the healing effects of HBOT for persistent COVID-19 symptoms, with highly regarded medical practitioners in both Florida and Israel.
Currently, long Covid is not one of the conditions that are FDA approved for hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
However, studies currently show that hyperbaric oxygen therapy is indeed beneficial for patients suffering from long Covid.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Long Covid Symptoms in Morris County, NJ
It is important to note that hyperbaric oxygen therapy has not been approved as treatment for long Covid by the FDA.
However, HBOT is a safe and non-invasive procedure used for a variety of purposes such as wound healing, post-stroke therapy, infections, inflammation, and more.
Studies and sample cases show that hyperbaric oxygen therapy is indeed beneficial for long Covid and helps alleviate symptoms.
If you are suffering from long Covid and are in the Morris County, NJ area, visit HBOT USA for a consultation.
Call Us Today
Our professional staff is here to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Call: 833-620-8100
Hours Of Operation
17 Hanover Rd #300
Florham Park, NJ 07932