How does the hyperbaric chamber helps patients with scleroderma?

Scleroderma is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the connective tissue of several organs, mainly skin, lungs, heart, gastrointestinal tract, kidneys and osteomioarticular system, causing degenerative changes.

Women are affected more commonly than men. The disease occurs mainly between the third and fifth decade of life, although it can arise at any age.

Its causes are unknown, but current studies point to both genetic and environmental factors. In its development there is alteration of three levels: vascular affectation, inflammatory changes and autoimmune alteration.

Some of the symptoms are: fatigue or lack of energy, myalgias with or without loss of strength, swelling in the hands, weight loss, cutaneous manifestations, Raynaud phenomena (finger coloring), lung, digestive, heart and kidney affectation, infections and psychiatric symptoms in some cases.

There is no curative treatment for Systemic Sclerosis. In recent years several therapies have shown their effectiveness for some manifestations of the disease. However, each case is different and must be attended by a professional.

How does the hyperbaric chamber helps patients with scleroderma?

The treatment with Hyperbaric Oxygenation (HBOT) is a non-invasive method that consists of supplying oxygen at high concentrations in a pressurized Hyperbaric Chamber at a minimum of 1.4 atmospheres (ATM). This generates a Hyperoxia, meaning that it significantly increases the level of Oxygen in the blood and, therefore, in the tissues. Hyperoxia triggers numerous health benefits.

Hyperbaric Oxygenation has been used in patients with rheumatic diseases for a long time without any reports of complications during or after treatment. Among its beneficial properties are:

1) Anti-hypoxic effect that allows to transport the oxygen bound to the hemoglobin in 100%, as well as through the fluids of the organism.

2) Anti-edema and anti-inflammatory effect.

3) Contributes to the neoformation of blood vessels (vascular neoformation).

4) Recent evidence has shown that hyperbaric oxygenation inhibits the action of certain cytokines and also acts as an immune modulator.

5) It has a favorable effect on microcirculatory changes.

HBOT produces beneficial effects on the clinical evolution of patients with systemic scleroderma, manifested in the clinical improvement of skin lesions, osteomyoarticular, digestive and respiratory disorders.

Sources

Dr. Bárbaro Taylor Jiménez, Dra. Myra Guerra Castro, Dra. Pía Nancy Hernández, Dr.Efraín Lima Cuellar, Dr. Noel Rodríguez Soria, Dra. Maria del C. Álvarez Escobar, Oxigenación Hiperbárica: una opción terapéutica en la Esclerodermia Sistémica Progresiva, 2005.

García, Begoña, ¿Qué es la Esclerodermia?, 2014.

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