HBOT: Stroke Survivors Heal the Brain with Oxygen

Published on
July 11, 2019

Someone in the U.S suffers from a stroke every 40 seconds, with strokes being the leading cause of long-term disability. With the only FDA approved drug treatment for acute ischemic stroke having a window of only three hours after symptoms start, many stroke patients are left with impairments that often do not improve with standard rehabilitation. Dr. Spiegel experienced this with a family member, but research showed him there was another option. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, or HBOT, helps deliver oxygen to the brain, often healing and even reversing the damage done from the stroke and returning quality of life to the patient.

Let’s Start with Some Stroke Basics

A Dr. reviewing brain images

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted. This can occur as an ischemic stroke, where a blood clot blocks the blood flow, or a hemorrhagic stroke, where a blood vessel ruptures or leaks. Both types of strokes limit the oxygen supply to the brain, resulting in tissue damage or death. The area of the brain affected will determine the physical symptoms that a patient experiences, be it paralysis, loss of balance, trouble swallowing, problems with speech, memory loss, and much more.

To learn more about strokes and how hyperbaric oxygen can make a difference, click HERE.

Traditional Treatment Doesn’t Focus on the Damage

When you suffer a stroke and get into the emergency room immediately, doctors have a three-hour window to administer a medication that works to dissolve the blood clot and return blood flow. For patients that get in during that window, many symptoms resolve, and they see major improvement. Unfortunately, many don’t make it into that window and the lack of oxygen to the area of the brain remains, leaving them with what can be permanent symptoms.

Stroke recovery focuses on helping the patient learn how to live with their new limitations. Unfortunately it never really addresses those limitations. The idea is if symptoms don’t improve within the first 30 to 90 days after a stroke, the damage is permanent, and patients need to learn how to live around those symptoms.

Only HBOT looks at trying to heal the damage to the brain with oxygen.

HBOT Focuses on Healing the Brain with Oxygen After a Stroke

A man preparing for HBOT

This is where HBOT can make a world of difference. The cause of a stroke is the lack of oxygen and nutrients to brain tissue. HBOT floods the brain with oxygen, allowing for the damaged tissues to repair and symptoms to improve. As you relax inside a hyperbaric chamber, your body fills with 100 percent oxygen at increased air pressure.

In a healthy person, the brain uses 20 percent of the oxygen normally found in the body. But regenerating injured brain cells requires so much more oxygen. The increased levels of oxygen provided through HBOT supply the oxygen and nutrients the brain needs in order to rebuild neuronal connections and stimulate inactive neurons that help heal the damaged brain.

A Non-Invasive Treatment Option That Can Give You Your Life Back

As a non-invasive treatment option, HBOT is safe and allows the stroke patient to relax while the oxygen does the work. Every patient is different, and how HBOT helps depends on a variety of different factors. This includes where the damage is located and the extent of the damage. We have experienced great success with our stroke patients. Many patients regain their ability to speak or their ability to walk unassisted. In addition to prescription medications and physical therapy, we can create a treatment plan catered to your stroke and symptoms. Even if you have been living with stroke symptoms for a year or more, HBOT may still be able to help. Recent studies have shown that HBOT can improve brain function as much as 36 months post-stroke.

Don’t settle for adapting to your limitations any longer! HBOT uses oxygen to repair your brain after a stroke. Give us a call today and let us help reduce your symptoms and get your quality of life back. Our office is happy to set up an initial consultation where you can talk with Dr. Spiegel and see just how he can help! You can also click HERE to request more information.