Inside the hyperbaric chamber, a patient will absorb oxygen close to four times the normal breathing conditions.
Oxygen controls most of the body’s processes, including the immune system. Lack of oxygen can lead to a vulnerable immune response, increased fatigue and eventually hypoxia, oxygen starvation in the cells which is considered the cause of many degenerative diseases.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy sessions are comfortable and relaxing and all you have to do is breathe pure oxygen inside a chamber with increased atmospheric pressure that enhances the distribution of oxygen through blood capillaries, through tissues, organs, and the brain. The treatment is non-invasive and fit for mostly everyone, with a few exceptions.Read more about potential risks
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Aging is not a disease per se, but certain diseases are associated with aging. Hyperbaric oxygenation (HBO) has an important role to play in the practice of geriatric medicine. Multiple factors, including the inborn aging process, genetic defects, and environmental agents, participate in the aging process. There are more than 300 theories to explain the aging phenomenon. The most well-known of these states is that aging may be due to deleterious, irreversible changes produced by free radical reactions.
The free radical theory of aging, postulated by Denham Harman in 1954, remains the most popular and widely tested theory of aging. It is based on the chemical nature and ubiquitous presence of free radicals.
Despite the actions of antioxidant nutrients, some oxidative damage will occur, and accumulation of this damage throughout life is believed to be a major contributing factor to aging and disease. Oxidative stress and production of free radicals tend to increase with aging,whereas the body’s natural antioxidant defenses decline.
Aging can be viewed as a manifestation of hypoxia. The aging process involves a diminished capacity of the central nervous system to use oxygen. The decline of mental function resulting from aging is similar to the decline resulting from hypoxia. Although there is impairment of functional activity with hypoxia in aging, the metabolic capacity of the brain is not totally exhausted.
The capacity for physical exercise is reduced in these patients. HBO may not increase the physical performance in healthy adults, but it improves the physical performance capacity in those limited by pain and paralysis or spasticity. Physical therapy in such patients can be carried out in a multi-place hyperbaric chamber.
HBO is not used for the treatment of aging.
The main object of HBO is to counteract tissue hypoxia and improve the metabolism. Both of these are important in disturbances of the brain, which constitute a major portion of the problems in geriatric patients treated by hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
HBO is part of a multidisciplinary approach to the patient with decline of mental function with aging. It works best combined with brain jogging (mental exercises), physical exercise, and nootropic medications (to improve cerebral metabolism).
HBO does not have any effect in primary degenerative dementias, but it improves mental function in patients with cerebrovascular insufficiency, as well as the metabolic disturbances associated with hypoxia.
It has proven to be helpful in geriatrics, and its most useful role is in vascular insufficiency syndromes.
Since elderly inactive patients also suffer from mental decline in the absence of organic disease of the brain, a combination of HBO, nootropic drugs, brain jogging (mental exercises), and physical therapy is maximally effective for geriatric patients.
If the genetic programming theory of aging is true, one cannot extend the life span, but one can help the patient achieve the maximal age determined for him or her at an optimal level of mental and physical functioning.
HBO is generally considered to be safe in the aged persons unless they have a medical contraindication.