If you are a scuba diver, then you know the importance of avoiding decompression sickness.
This condition can be very dangerous and even deadly.
Decompression sickness has been found to affect around 1,000 scuba divers every year.
Fortunately, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is the most effective way to help relieve the symptoms of decompression sickness.
In this blog post, we will discuss hyperbaric oxygen therapy and how it can help treat decompression sickness.
What is Decompression Sickness?
Decompression sickness, also known as generalized barotrauma or the bends or the chokes, is a type of injury produced by a fast drop in the pressure that surrounds you, whether it’s air or water.
It usually affects scuba or deep-sea divers, but it can also happen during high-altitude or unpressurized air travel.
Decompression sickness, on the other hand, is uncommon in pressurized aircraft, such as those used for commercial trips.
You take in more oxygen and nitrogen when you scuba dive using compressed air. The oxygen is used by your body, while the nitrogen is dissolved in your blood and remains there during your dive.
The water pressure around you reduces when you swim back to the surface after a deep dive. It happens when divers rise too quickly from the depths of the water. The change in pressure can cause nitrogen bubbles to form in the blood and tissues. This can lead to pain, paralysis, and even death.
Decompression sickness occurs when the scuba diver rises too quickly from the depths of the water. The change in pressure can cause nitrogen bubbles to form in the blood and tissues.
Many of the following factors enhance the likelihood of acquiring decompression sickness:
- Some cardiac defects, such as a patent foramen ovale or an atrial septal defect
- Cold water
- Flying soon after diving
- Increased pressure due to depth of dive
- Time spent in a high-pressure environment.
- Age (older people are more at risk)
- Ascending quickly
- Failure to use proper decompression techniques
Repeated dives within one day are more likely to trigger decompression sickness than a single dive because extra nitrogen remains dissolved in body tissues for at least 12 hours after each dive.
Flying within 12 to 24 hours of diving (for example, towards the end of a vacation) exposes them to significantly lower air pressure, increasing the risk of decompression sickness.
Decompression sickness is a hazardous disease that requires rapid treatment.
Fortunately, most occurrences can be avoided by adopting safety precautions.
Symptoms of Decompression Sickness
Decompression sickness can cause a variety of symptoms. These include joint pain, muscle pain, weakness, tingling, and paralysis.
In severe cases, it can cause seizures, strokes, and even death. If you experience any of these symptoms after scuba diving, it is important to seek medical help immediately.
Type 1 decompression sickness is defined as symptoms affecting the epidermis, musculoskeletal system, and lymphatic system.
Type 1 is also known as the bends. A person with type 2 will have symptoms that involve the nerve system.
Itching, skin mottling, rash, swelling of the arm, chest, or belly, and excessive weariness are some of the less common symptoms. These symptoms do not endanger life, but they may signal the onset of more serious disorders.
Type 2 is also known as the chokes. Decompression illness symptoms might arise quickly. Scuba divers may begin to show symptoms within an hour after their dive.
Neurologic symptoms, which can vary from slight numbness to paralysis and death, are the most common symptoms of the more severe form of decompression sickness. The spinal cord is particularly susceptible.
Numbness, tingling, weakness, or a combination of these symptoms in the arms, legs, or both can be signs of spinal cord involvement.
Mild tingling or weakness can quickly develop to irreversible paralysis. It’s also possible that you won’t be able to urinate or regulate your urination or defecation. Abdominal and back pain are also frequent.
Headaches, disorientation, difficulty speaking, and double vision are some of the symptoms of brain involvement, which are similar to those of an air embolism. Loss of consciousness is uncommon.
How to Prevent Decompression Sickness?
There are a few things scuba divers can do to prevent decompression sickness.
First, it is important to dive with a qualified instructor. They can help you safely plan your dives and avoid decompression sickness.
If you are a novice diver, you should travel with a dive master who is knowledgeable with safe ascents.
Before you dive, discuss an adjustment plan with the dive master, as well as how slowly you should ascend to the surface.
Second, always ascend slowly from the depths of the water. This will help reduce the risk of nitrogen bubbles forming in your blood and tissues.
Most divers take a brief safety pause before rising to the surface to avoid decompression sickness.
This is normally done at a depth of about 15 feet (4.5 meters).
If you’re diving very deep, you should climb and pause a few times to allow your body to acclimate gradually.
Finally, if you start to feel any decompression sickness symptoms, seek medical help immediately.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy as Treatment for Decompression Sickness
Approved by the FDA, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is the primary form of care for decompression sickness.
When people return to a normal altitude from tremendous heights or great depths, decompression sickness occurs.
Deep sea divers, mountain climbers, miners, and those who engage in similar activities are the most likely to develop it.
Because it can address the related symptoms right away, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is the recommended treatment for this illness.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy reduces bubble size and improves gradients, allowing for better oxygen delivery and inert gas elimination.
What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?
Breathing in a hyperbaric chamber is how hyperbaric oxygen therapy works. The pressure within the chamber is similar to being 33 to 45 feet below sea level. This pressure permits the patient to breathe in 100 percent oxygen, rather than the 21 percent oxygen that humans ordinarily inhale.
The hyperbaric chamber’s higher pressure delivers 10 to 20 times more oxygen to our blood plasma.
Because of the increased oxygenation provided by hyperbaric oxygen therapy, it has a variety of health benefits, including improved blood circulation and anti-inflammatory qualities.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy increases angiogenesis, or the development of new blood vessels in our tissues, when used on a regular basis.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, along with adequate nutrition and medication, can help a patient heal five times faster.
This is because many of our basic body functions are dependent on oxygen. It converts the food we eat into energy, circulates blood throughout our bodies, stimulates our immune system and decreases inflammation, and heals injured organs and tissues.
We get up to twenty times more oxygen advantages in a hyperbaric chamber than we do when we breathe normally.
What Does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Treat?
For injuries and wound healing, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is commonly used.
Many athletes use HBOT to help them recover from a traumatic injury.
Increased oxygenation reduces inflammation in damaged areas, allowing more oxygen to reach damaged tissues and allowing both healing and non-healing wounds to heal faster.
Neutrophil production is boosted by hyperbaric oxygen therapy. This is a type of white blood cell that fights infections and helps the body mend wounds.
HBOT strengthens the immune system by giving the body greater energy to heal wounds and injuries, in addition to actively healing damaged tissues.
The hyperbaric chamber’s increased oxygenation reduces inflammation, which is the root of many health problems.
Inflamed tissues make it difficult for oxygen to pass through and encourage healing.
HBOT provides more oxygen to depleted tissues, allowing them to repair much faster than usual.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy also stimulates neuroplasticity in the brain, which enhances memory, mental clarity, and has even been shown to help with autism, Alzheimer’s, and dementia symptoms.
HBOT is also highly suggested in the case of traumatic brain damage. The brain consumes 20% of our body’s oxygen, so the oxygen boost delivered by the hyperbaric chamber is extremely beneficial to brain health.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has numerous advantages. It increases memory, promotes stamina, and helps inflammatory bowel illness, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, autism, bell’s palsy, cerebral palsy, fibromyalgia, and even Covid-19 recovery.
Treat Decompression Sickness with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy at HBOT USA
At HBOT USA, we take great satisfaction in assuring our patients’ safety.
Our hyperbaric doctors are the best in the industry and have extensive experience with hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Before allowing our patients to enter the hyperbaric chamber for therapy, we make sure they are prepared, informed, and comfortable.
When you receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy at HBOT USA, you can rest assured that your treatment plan was devised by industry specialists who have successfully treated a large number of patients.
Throughout your treatment, our hyperbaric technicians, nurses, and physicians are by your side.
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, visit our website at https://hbotusa.com/ or call 833-620-8100 and we’ll be happy to help.