Risks And Precautionary Steps Involved In Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

When mild hyperbaric therapy is administered properly and effectively in well maintained Hyperbaric Centers under the guidance of efficient test administrators, then there are high probabilities that the health conditions of the patient in question will certainly improve. However, individuals with lung diseases like as asthma, lung blockage, emphysema or any other obstructive condition should avoid undergoing this therapy, or certainly consult a doctor and weigh the relative drawbacks and benefits. There are certain potential risks that are associated with the safety of Hyperbaric Centers. Let us have a look at them:

Fire

A hyperbaric chamber is always susceptible to catching fire because of the supersaturation of oxygen although media reports of such accidents in the United States have been nil. However, there are some precautions that should always be kept in mind. Fire is mainly caused by three things:

Flammable materials

Oxygen

Ignition source

While it is impossible to remove oxygen from the chambers, as the therapy rests on the basic principle of inhaling pure oxygen, the other two sources can definitely be done away with. Patients should not smoke inside the chambers, or carry items that may cause a spark, and hence lead to a fire. Such items include electronics and gadgets, or even certain types of toys like the wind-up toy-cars. Such precautions should be taken even more carefully in the case of hard chambers kept in clinics and hospitals, where the purity of oxygen that is administered is a complete 100%, and the pressure levels are almost 4 to 6 times more when compared to a mild hyperbaric chamber.

Explosion

The lack of media records regarding explosions in hyperbaric centers does not warrant the fact that there will no accidental explosions in the future. Explosions take place when there is a rapid expansion in the gas volume creating an acute pressure situation that is relieved by a sudden outburst. When the pressure builds up tremendously, then the chambers are unable to withstand the force. An explosion will occur only when the gas within the chamber is caused to expand rapidly in a situation with high temperatures caused by fire. The only precautionary step for avoiding an explosion is to have fire prevention safeguards in place. Although explosions are rare, being adequately prepared for one always helps to prevent possible disasters.

Oxygen Toxicity

In mild hyperbaric chambers, where the pressure does not rise beyond 1.5 ATA, there are no possibilities of oxygen toxicity. The most common explanation of oxygen toxicity is that there is a complete exhaustion of the system’s radical-detoxification mechanisms that include superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, catalase, glutathione reductase along with certain enzymes. Therefore anti-oxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium etc. are always recommended for patients undergoing hyperbaric therapy. Patients who undertake therapy in mild hyperbaric chambers, on the other hand, are advised to take a break of 3 to 4 weeks between consecutive sessions to allow the body to naturally fight the effects of oxygen toxicity and return to normal.

Seizures are a common side effect of oxygen toxicity, and rarely ever seen in the case of patients undergoing mild therapy. Although a seizure, by itself is harmless, it can have a detrimental effect on the physical health, as the person looses all control over his/her motor movements during one.

Myopia(nearsightedness) and cataract(blurring of vision due to pigmentation on the lenses) are other symptoms of excessive oxygen toxicity. Other causes that may result in oxygen toxicity are adrenocortical hormones, dextoamphetamine, CO2 inhalation, hyperthermia, insulin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, paraquat, alcohol, hyperthyroidism, recreational drugs, deficiency of Vitamin E etc.

Otic Barotrauma

This is real risk faced by patients undergoing therapy in both mild and hard hyperbaric chambers. However, it is temporary and not life-threatening. The tympanic membrane in the middle ear tends to repair itself quickly, even if it is ruptured. The only way to prevent inflammations in the ear and avoid hearing muffled sounds for days, if not weeks following the hyperbaric therapy is to plug in cotton or ear phones and thereby save the middle ear from the risk of adjusting to fluctuating pressures, thereby risking injury in the process.

Nitrogen Narcosis

This condition is not a serious threat. It is the complete saturation of the body with nitrogen. This is a major concern of aquatic divers who spend a lot of time underwater and breath a mixture of oxygen and nitrogen. For divers, it is a triple layered problem. Breathing 100% oxygen at great underwater depths might result in seizures, while inhaling ambient air risks narcosis. The only other option is to add helium to the whole mixture of nitrogen and oxygen. However, helium is extremely expensive, and has a tendency to reduce the normal body temperature. Also, those patients who are treated at pressure levels lower than 1.5 ATA in a hyperbaric chamber tend to run the risk of nitrogen narcosis. The only solution to this problem is to breath in pure oxygen that can help to reduce the level of nitrogen in the body.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is beneficial for the treatment of many health conditions that are caused by oxygen paucity. However, there are certain risks as well. Hence it is best to be aware of them and take adequate precautions, apart from being aware of the possible solutions.

Treating Heartburn, Gastritis, Reflux and GERD With Holistic Medicine and PEMF Therapy

Because GERD is so complex, one has to understand the mechanisms underlying the problem. GERD is due to a hiatal hernia. When there is a hiatal hernia, there are different degrees of reflux of stomach acid up to the esophagus. The primary symptom of GERD is heartburn. Another common problem associate with GERD is “water brash” or a feeling of acid up in the throat. It is not uncommon for people with bad reflux, which is what GERD is, to have vocal cord irritation, coughing, and a chronic sore throat, especially in the mornings-and even asthma.

Hiatal hernia is caused simply by overstretching the stomach, which then unfortunately causes the lower end of the esophagus to overstretch as well. When the esophagus is overstretched, acid freely goes up into the esophagus, which is not designed to handle acid.

Heartburn is often also caused by gastritis or inflammation of the stomach. These two conditions may be difficult to differentiate and can only be done so by doing an endoscopy, or putting a scope down the throat into the lower esophagus and stomach. Gastritis is treated as a very different condition, although both of them tend to get treated by using acid suppression with medications like Zantac, Prilosec, the purple pill [protonix], etc.

The condition that is the most worrisome with GERD is the esophagitis,, called reflux esophagitis. In the worst case it becomes known as Barrett’s esophagus. Barrett’s esophagus can lead to esophageal cancer, because of the chronic irritation of acid of the lower end of the esophagus.

So, there are two approaches to handling GERD.

The first is to reduce the reflux of acid into the esophagus. This is again using the acid suppression medications. In a holistic world, the primary strategy is to reduce the amount of time the food sit in the stomach and to try to heal the esophagus. The medications used to suppress acid reflux into the esophagus simply decrease the acid production. They do nothing to heal the esophagus or the stomach. The doctors in this case rely strictly on the body healing itself. Holistic doctors use an additional strategy using a supplement called DGL or aloe to help to heal the lining of the esophagus and stomach.

The second important strategy is to reduce the time the food takes move out of the stomach. Unfortunately, with the acid blockers we are in a Catch-22. By suppressing stomach acid, we are not able to digest our food as well and consequently it tends to sit in the stomach longer. While appearing counterintuitive, we would typically recommend that individuals with GERD should actually use acid during their meals. Many individuals actually develop reflux simply because they already do not have enough acid in their stomachs to digest their food properly. That means food sits there too long and therefore is more likely to reflux into the esophagus. For this purpose people may use apple cider vinegar, 1 to 2 tablespoons in 4 ounces of water at the end of each meal, or to actually use an acid preparation such as betaine hydrochloride, in the proper dose.

Digestion actually begins in the mouth. People need to properly until their food is liquid before it leaves the mouth. This pre-digestion reduces the amount of work the stomach has to do and as a result of food will leave the stomach faster, decreasing reflux. I strongly believe that a large part of our reflux problems in our society is that people don’t chew adequately, because of how much we end up rushing meals. In addition, those people with reflux — particularly with morning symptoms– need to elevate the head of the bed or get a foam wedge with a 6 inch rise. The foam wedge needs to cover their body from their head to their tailbone. Fortunately, this can be done on one side of the bed so that any partner is not affected. It’s important to do elevation with a wedge [additional pillows just don’t work] to decrease the possibility of acid refluxing into the esophagus. In addition, meals should not happen within two hours of bedtime, as food is likely to still be in the stomach and then reflux into the esophagus. Small meals throughout the day also decrease the amount of food in the stomach at any one time. The stomach is like a small balloon, the size of a fist, and when it is pressed by the down the muscles with bending and lifting or other abdominal muscle straining, the balloon is pressed and the food has only one way to go, up into the esophagus.

In terms of the value of PEMFs in the setting of heartburn or GERD, it is possible that PEMFs may help with motility of the stomach to evacuate food faster. This helps to decrease the amount of reflux. Additionally PEMFs may increase the amount of acid production during a meal to help to digest food better and faster. Finally, PEMFs can help to reduce the symptoms of heartburn and gastritis. I have used magnetic fields numerous times when I have overindulged in spicy foods. They do help the pain of heartburn fairly dramatically. However, this use of PEMFs is just a Band-Aid as long as the other components of reducing reflux are not used. So, using PEMFs in the setting of GERD has to include mechanical measures, nutritional measures and proper digestive practices. PEMFs may be very helpful to reduce symptoms and may additionally speed up gastric motility, reducing the amount of time food spends in the stomach and therefore the likelihood of reflux.

Obviously if you own a PEMF system, it could be used for other health needs as well. If you already have a PEMF system for other reasons, it can also be used for your reflux by applying the magnetic field directly over the upper abdomen and lower esophagus. This can be done particularly at bedtime, whenever heartburn is felt – until the discomfort is relieved, and in the morning when symptoms may be the worst. In this case, again, the PEMFs would be symptomatically helpful along with whatever other therapy is being used.

Respiratory Therapy – Breathing Better With Humility

Oxygen is essential to human life. Without the ability to breath, a human being cannot live. R.T. work with patients who have difficulties breathing or other cardio-pulmonary disorders. They evaluate, treat and care for these patients in a number of different settings. They save lives by helping clear patients’ airways during emergency procedures, and they make living and breathing easier for patients with chronic asthma, diseased lungs, or other conditions that make breathing a challenge.

Skilled Professionals must complete a university degree program and then become certified by passing an examination and meeting with rigorous standards. But there is more than education to being a R.T. Skilled professionals must also possess many important personal characteristics, including humility.

Humility is an important characteristic for all health care providers. Being arrogant, over confident, contemptuous or rude is a huge barrier to effective patient care. A respiratory therapist must practice humility when dealing with the patient and when interacting with other members of the health care team.

A patient who cannot breath or has difficulty breathing is one who may feel dangerously close to dying. The struggle to fight for breath can be emotionally and physically exhausting. An effective respiratory therapist doesn’t just ease the patient’s breathing; they also show humility by treating the patient with dignity and respect. The patient should feel comfortable and at ease with their therapist. An arrogant or rude therapist will not accomplish this goal.

A successful respiratory therapist also acts with humility when interacting with the rest of the heath care team. A therapist may be working with a doctor, nurses, or other health care practitioners to help the patient recover. It is vitally important that all members of the team be treated with respect. Although each person may be providing a different level of care, there is no job that is more important than the others. Being humble when working in a team is an important characteristic for a respiratory therapist.

Respiratory therapists help patients breathe better, and, in doing so, help them live better. Humility can help ensure the success of their efforts.