There are around 100 conditions classified as autoimmune diseases. According to the NIH, they affect approximately 7% of the American population. An autoimmune disease (AD) occurs when the immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues as if they were foreign invaders. With Multiple Sclerosis, the immune system attacks the protective covering of the nerves; with Rheumatoid Arthritis, the immune system attacks the linings of joints, usually in the hands and feet; with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, the immune system attacks the lining of the intestinal tract. There are many potential causes and triggers for autoimmune diseases, ranging from environmental toxicity to genetic malfunction. Lyme Disease and PANDAS are both examples of Autoimmune Diseases that originate from bacterial infections that become chronic within tissues. Any part of the body can be attacked by an overactive immune system, which creates a chronic inflammatory condition.
Because there are so many autoimmune diseases that can affect every part of the body, symptoms may vary in type and intensity. While some may cause only minimal discomfort, others can be life-altering for the patient. Some ADs, such as Type 1 Diabetes, cause persistent symptoms, while others, such as Psoriasis, come and go in “flare-ups.” Common symptoms of many ADs include swelling of affected tissue, fever, pain, brain fog, and fatigue.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy may be an effective therapy in combating the symptoms of autoimmune diseases by primarily fighting the chronic inflammation caused by the overactive immune system. ADs associated with infection can be treated with HBOT because the pressure and oxygen can reach deep into tissues and kill off the invading bacteria. Long-term treatments may decrease the intensity of flare-ups as well as prolong the amount of time between the flare-ups. Flooding the body with oxygen can reduce inflammation, decrease pain, and support the immune system. Some patients have seen their Autoimmune Disorders go into remission after adding HBOT to their regimens. Many patients also report improved mental clarity, sleep, overall well-being, digestion, and pain levels.