Inflammation is a biological process that our body uses to respond to infection. Whenever a cell becomes damaged, the immune system triggers an inflammatory response by releasing cytokine molecules.
This response is characterized by five primary signs; redness, swelling, heat, pain, and loss of function, and although this reaction can help our body fight off invaders, it can also get out of control and cause more internal damage.
Helping our body combat inflammation is key to boosting our overall health. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a proven treatment that enhances the body’s natural circulation and helps avoid or lower inflammation.
In this blog, we go in-depth about inflammation, how it affects our bodies, and how hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help us avoid and even heal many chronic illnesses.
How hyperbaric oxygen prevents inflammation
Before we get into detail about the effects of inflammation and how hyperbaric oxygen can help avoid it, let’s talk about hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
To fully understand how HBOT works, it’s important to understand that oxygen plays a key role in our body’s circulation.
Our heart pumps blood into our lungs. Oxygen is then inhaled through the lungs and attaches to our red blood cells. As the blood undergoes circulation, oxygen separates from the red blood cells and is absorbed by our tissues and cells where it is converted into energy.
This cycle continuously happens as we breathe oxygen allowing the human body to gain the fuel it needs to perform everyday functions like healing through wounds and combating infection. A healthy circulatory system typically saturates oxygen at almost 100% capacity.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy uses pressure and air with a higher percentage of O2, which can dissolve a greater degree of oxygen into the plasma in our blood, allowing our body to have a larger oxygen reserve to use for healing, regenerating, and recovering from all sorts of injuries and conditions.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been proven to be an amazing tool for overall health, lowering inflammation and helping our body heal quicker.
But why do we need to avoid inflammation?
Whenever we are infected with a virus or flu, our body’s immune system gets triggered by a variety of different cells to attack the invading organisms.
A macrophage is a type of white blood cell that recognizes and attempts to clear up foreign material like viruses. Some white cells have even more specialized designations.
For example, B-cells create protein antibodies that latch on to the virus, effectively marking it as dangerous so other cells, like T-cells, can target and destroy it. The body’s immune response relies on our cells communicating with each other to combat an infection.
To do this, our body releases a set of proteins called cytokines that act as chemical messengers. They tell immune cells what to do while also stimulating our cytokine production until we reach a critical mass that eventually overwhelms the infection.
Cytokines are an integral part of our immune system response, but they are also responsible for producing many of the common, unwanted side effects of infection.
Cytokines trigger not only inflammation but also things like runny nose, fever, aches, and other flu-like symptoms.
In severe cases of viral infection, cytokine production can grow to extreme proportions. Immune system cells release proinflammatory cytokines, triggering the body to produce more immune cells, releasing even more cytokines, on and on in a positive feedback loop of cytokine creation known as a “cytokine storm.”
This is a dramatic immune response that causes damage to organs like the lungs and kidneys, and in some cases can even lead to death. Younger patients with overactive immune systems tend to be more susceptible to this condition.
Chronic illness, chronic inflammation, and hyperbaric oxygen
When it comes to chronic illness, many treatments tend to help manage symptoms and not the root of the illness.
Modern medicine usually prevents symptoms such as pain but doesn’t promote direct healing of the tissues and cells that cause these uncomfortable symptoms.
Our body functions well because of healthy circulation and blood flow. Inflammation hinders blood flow from its natural circulation. Interrupted blood flow leads to a plethora of health issues because not enough oxygen reaches the body’s tissues and cells in order to repair itself.
When a tissue is damaged, it leads to a breakdown of our microcirculation and a decrease in oxygenation. When this happens, our bodies are unable to get the nourishment our cells need to reduce inflammation.
Decreased oxygenation in our blood flow could lead to metabolic dysregulation and mitochondrial issues. If inflammation is not reduced, it could even lead to nuclear damage and DNA damage.
When it gets to this point, the cycle continues and could lead to chronic and even fatal illnesses. For this reason, it’s important to retain proper circulation and avoid chronic inflammation.
In the pressurized hyperbaric chamber, our blood cells receive additional oxygenation that is pushed into our tissues and promotes healing directly at the source.
Suppressing inflammation allows patients with chronic illnesses to live a somewhat normal life, and can even delay or prevent having to go through surgery.
One illness that chronic inflammation can cause is inflammatory bowel disease. Approximately 1.6 million Americans suffer from IBD.
Patients come in all ages, with 70,000 new cases reported annually. The most common patients are aged 15-30. In the US, an estimated 80,000 children are also affected.
The two most common types of IBDs are Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease. Both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are known to develop symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fatigue, and weight loss.
Patients with inflammatory bowel disease suffer from oxygen starvation in the rectal tissues.
As we’ve mentioned, oxygen plays a key role in our body’s healing process and injuries could result in swelling and tissue death when oxygen is lacking in our circulation.
In this way, IBDs are similar to non-healing wounds such as burns, crushing injuries, diabetic foot ulcers, skin or bone infection, skin grafts, skin flaps, gangrene, necrotizing soft tissue infection, severe anemia, sudden loss of vision or hearing, brain injuries, brain abscess, arterial gas embolism (air or gas bubbles in the blood vessels), cyanide poisoning, as well as radiation injuries from cancer treatment.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease is also the result of an abnormal immune response that is prone to triggering harmful cytokine storms.
Through hyperbaric oxygen treatment, we enrich the plasma with a boost of oxygen. This has been proven to help reverse tissue death, reduce inflammation, mitigate the effects of cytokine storms, and boost our tissue’s natural resistance to infection.
The unique ability of HBOT to saturate blood plasma with oxygen is proven to accelerate healing to injuries that cannot be treated through conventional means, such as those associated with inflammatory bowel disease.
There is huge potential in the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy as a means to treat inflammatory bowel disease and help foster better, healthier lives in those who suffer from IBD and other diseases involving non-healing wounds.
How suppressing inflammation with hyperbaric oxygen improves lives
Inflammation is a natural immune response, but when the body loses control and the inflammation lingers, it could lead to a host of health problems.
Illnesses such as autoimmune diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer are all linked to inflammation in the body. This is why we see anti-inflammatory drugs and supplements out in the market today.
Unfortunately, many of these supplements only address the symptoms and not the root cause. A great way to avoid inflammation altogether is to have a healthy lifestyle and adapt an anti-inflammatory diet.
This means having eight to nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day, limiting meat and dairy, and cutting off processed foods and refined sugar. Of course, committing to a healthy lifestyle and diet isn’t easy for everyone.
There are many anti-inflammatory drugs out in the market but like with all pills, they may cause liver damage over time.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an easy, non-invasive way to prevent and reduce inflammation in the body.
The oxygen-rich environment in the hyperbaric chamber improves blood flow and brings much-needed oxygen to aid in the recovery of inflamed and swollen tissues.
Studies have shown a considerable improvement in patients with serious cases of inflammation and swelling.
This reduction in inflammation plays an important role in healing infections, restoring damaged tissues, and warding of autoimmune diseases and chronic illnesses such as inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.
Suffering from inflammation? Try hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
It’s clear that reducing or preventing inflammation plays a crucial role in our overall well-being. We all want to live robust and meaningful lives, and our health must be in top shape to do so.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy decreases inflammation, boosts fibroblast activation, reduces swelling, and increases anti-inflammatory cytokines. It also relieves joint inflammation that could lead to arthritis and prevents the onset of chronic inflammatory diseases.
Reducing inflammation is just one of the many benefits hyperbaric oxygen provides the human body. To book an appointment or to learn more about hyperbaric oxygen therapy, contact HBOT USA today!