February 13, 2017

What is Oxygen Toxicity?

In a recent blog post, we discussed the possible side effects and complications of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, one of which is called oxygen toxicity, also known as oxygen poisoning. If you were surprised to learn that too much oxygen can actually be a bad thing, keep reading to learn exactly why something so important for our survival can cause us harm.

Hypoxia & Hyperoxia

You’ve likely heard the term hypoxia before in reference to insufficient oxygen supply. This idea is easy to understand. If you were to hold your breath for more than a minute, you’d likely begin to experience one of the most common signs, which is a change in skin color anywhere from cherry red to blue. Hyperoxia, or an excess of oxygen, can be a bit more difficult to understand. Isn’t oxygen good for the body?

It’s true that we need oxygen to survive, but it is also true that too much oxygen can cause a variety of health complications. When the lungs are exposed to too much oxygen or oxygen at increased partial pressures, it can have the following negative effects:

  • Fluid buildup in the lungs
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Chest pain while breathing
  • Abnormalities in vision or hearing
  • Muscle twitching, spasms, or convulsions
  • Confusion

The Good News

So, why do we bring this up? Some people who would benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be avoiding this helpful treatment option for fear of the possible complications, such as oxygen toxicity. We want to let you know that oxygen toxicity is extremely unlikely within the hyperbaric oxygen chamber. Oxygen poisoning typically takes 24 to 48 hours of exposure, and your HBOT sessions at NeuraPerformance will last approximately one hour. In addition, the oxygen levels and chamber pressure are closely monitored to ensure your experience optimal benefits from this treatment.

Ready to schedule your hyperbaric oxygen therapy session or still have questions about HBOT? Contact our office today.

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