Earlean Smith, a woman from Lafayette, who is recovering from the side effects of radiation, has hailed HBOT therapy for enriching her life. The therapy has been extolled as a useful treatment for certain conditions for sometime, especially when medications prove ineffective. Smith’s statement is a big shot in the arm and gives it a seal of approval.
When one thinks about an uncommon treatment, a couple of questions are bound to come up in the mind like – Is it safe? Is it cost-effective? As far as its safety is concerned, one can rest-assured as the therapy has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of radiation injuries. In addition, the whole thing is administered by a qualified practitioner.
Although there is some confusion about how cost-effective the therapy is, its long-term benefits make it worth the amount of money spent for it.
Smith’s ordeal due to radiation injury is understandable. It usually occurs when one’s body is exposed to any ionizing radiation including X rays, gamma rays, or high-energy particles like electrons, positrons, neutrons, etc. An ionizing radiation causes serious damage to cells, and its source may be either natural, or man-made. She had got it while receiving radiation treatment for cancer.
Radiation injury primarily occurs in the cells of those organs or tissues that multiply rapidly. Such cells include the cells of the skin, the bone marrow, and the lining of the esophagus. These organs consist of progenitor cells, which multiply on a regular basis to replace the mature cells.
An injury caused by radiation either kills the progenitor cells, or interferes in the process of replacement of the mature cells, besetting the structure and functioning of the tissues.
HBOT therapy injects an additional amount of oxygen into a patient’s body under a pressure equivalent to three times the usual atmospheric pressure. When a patient inhales oxygen under such pressure, it reaches those parts of the body that are devoid of it. This boosts the healing ability of the cells, and invigorates the defense mechanism, which helps set a patient on the road to recovery.
The benefits of HBOT are as follows:
The supply of additional amount of oxygen encourages the growth of new tiny blood vessels, in and around the part affected with radiation. The growth of new blood vessels carries more oxygenated blood to the affected areas.
It decreases edema or swelling.
It stimulates the ability of the white blood cells to fight against the bacteria, and kill them.
Thus, we can infer that the intake of an additional amount of oxygen helped the formation of new blood vessels, thereby facilitating the transportation of oxygen dissolved blood throughout her body. This may have helped relieve her condition significantly.
A study conducted on the role of HBOT in treating various forms of radiation injury, advocates the use of the therapy to treat patients with radiation cystitis and proctitis, or both. It concludes that the therapy relieved 76% patients with cystitis, 89% patients with proctitis, and 88% with both the conditions. The study lends support to the claim that the therapy is the only best treatment option till date to treat radiation injuries.
She admitted that HBOT therapy is pain free and comfortable. “You don’t feel any pain,” she quoted, according to a news report. She also added, “It’s a pleasant two hours, really.” However, she wondered why the treatment was not put forth before. Her doctor, Dr. Griffith told that it is not commonplace.
Being determined to bring her mother back to normal, Karen combs started contemplating ways for it. She was ecstatic about the fact that her mother did not need as many medications as she used to take prior to receiving the therapy.
It was noticeable that Combs was happy for her mother when she said, “The amount of medication that she is no longer taking is amazing,”. She further added, “She wants to watch TV, and she sits up and plays scrabble on her nook, and talks to her sisters on the phone, and she’s able to stay awake and do all of those things,” according to the report.
HBOT therapy not only treats radiation injuries, but also certain other kinds of injuries like crush injuries, diabetic wounds, etc. With HBOT therapy around, there is a reason for the patients to be optimistic about the future prospects of their treatment.