As we age, inevitable physical changes occur. Some are unavoidable but others can be moderated—or even eliminated—through diet, exercise, and preventive care.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, “high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking are major risk factors for stroke. About half of Americans (49%) have at least one of these three risk factors. Several other medical conditions and unhealthy lifestyle choices can increase your risk for stroke. Although you can’t control all of your risk factors for stroke, you can take steps to prevent stroke and its complications.”
The CDC goes on to state that “stroke kills almost 130,000 Americans each year—that’s 1 out of every 19 deaths. On average, one American dies from stroke every 4 minutes.” From their research, “about 87% of all strokes are ischemic strokes, when blood flow to the brain is blocked.”
But a 2013 study recently showed that “through the use of hyperbaric, oxygen-rich chambers, medical researchers have found a way to restore a significant amount of neurological function in brain tissue thought to be chronically damaged by stroke, traumatic injury, and metabolic disorder—even years after the original injury.”
The study’s co-author “said high levels of oxygen allow neurons that have been damaged but are not destroyed to become active again, reconnecting with other neurons and firing the signals needed to maintain healthy brain function.” For victims and their families, this is a breath of fresh air for long-term recovery prognoses.
Olympia’s H3 Therapy Services offers hyperbaric oxygen therapy both via their West Olympia offices and in-home through chamber sales and rental. Clinic Director Michael Pfeifer, RRT explains that sessions improve sleep, mobility, cognitive issues, and pain management.
As they explain, hyperbaric oxygen therapy “uses filtered pressurized ambient air in order to dissolve oxygen into the body system, flooding tissues and essential organs with oxygen…The enhanced pressure enables the body plasma as well as other essential fluids in the body to absorb additional oxygen as a result enormously raising oxygen uptake by the cells, tissues, glands, organs, brain, and fluids of the body. The resulting uptake of oxygen allows for increased circulation to areas with swelling or inflammation resulting in a decrease of the swelling and inflammation.”
Sessions are typically one hour long and can take place in either a single-bed chamber or a dual unit, perfect for children of aging parents or loved ones seeking to minimize separation anxiety. The office strives to maximize a peaceful, therapeutic atmosphere – so much so that Pfeifer estimates 60-70% of clients nap through their session.
The chambers allow clients to wear comfortable street clothes and bring a book or music player to encourage complete relaxation. The goal is to allow your body to heal itself in any way possible, reducing the need for invasive procedures and additional prescription medication.
A stroke can strike without warning but rapid response and managed care can often mitigate long-term disability. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is one way to help give your body a fighting chance on the long road to recovery. If you or a loved one is facing this uphill journey, ask your medical team about treatment at H3 Therapy Servicess. Their staff offer flexible scheduling, and Pfeifer promises that there are “lots of ways we’ll work to be a patient advocate.”
Call Michael Pfeifer, RRT at 360-515-0681 or drop by their office at 405-D Black Hills Lane SW on Olympia’s west side.