Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a serious health condition that is affecting 1 in 54 children in the United States as per the CDC’s data collated in 2016.
What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is known to directly affect the neurodevelopmental functioning in patients from a very early age. Researchers have observed that children display symptoms of ASD from the age of 1 and the condition can rapidly deteriorate if there is a delay in providing adequate treatment such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).
The most common associated symptoms of ASD are:
- Repetitive behavior.
- Impaired motor skills.
- Irritable bowel syndrome.
- Speech impairment.
- Hand-eye coordination.
- Lack of focus.
- Disruptive sleep habits.
- Diminishing memory retention.
These above-mentioned issues can have a detrimental effect on the patients’ psyche, as they tend to live isolated lives due to limited social interaction. Most individuals with ASD are known to increasingly rely on other family members or caregivers to perform basic daily functions.
What Causes Autism Spectrum Disorder In Children?
Medical experts have conducted extensive research to ascertain the actual causes of autism spectrum disorder.
However, these studies have indicated that this ailment can occur due to certain influences such as:
- Genetic factors that can affect children during prenatal or peri-natal stages.
- Environmental impact.
- Prolonged drug use by any of the parents.
- Toxin exposure.
Experts in the field of autism have observed the following health anomalies in patients with ASD:
- Inflammation of critical issues.
- Cerebral hypoperfusion.
- Oxidative stress.
- Mitochondrial dysfunction.
- Immune dysregulation.
These health conditions occur due to reduced blood-oxygen levels in the critical brain tissues that control the essential functions of the human body.
All these factors have prompted specialists to recommend HBOT for autism relief, as this adjunctive therapy entirely relies on the use of pure oxygen.
HBOT For Autism Relief:
Top specialists are widely recommending HBOT for autism relief, as patients are known to have displayed significant improvement in their condition after undergoing this therapy on a regular basis.
What Is HBOT?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a time-tested treatment solution that has been used since the early 1960s’ by medical experts to provide relief for varied afflictions ranging from:
- Decompression sickness in divers.
- Non-healing diabetic wounds.
- Gas embolism.
- Necrotizing infections.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Gas gangrene.
- Acute traumatic ischemia.
- Burn injury.
- Acute anemia.
- Radiation injury.
- Cyanide poisoning.
- Compromised skin flaps.
Over a period of time, a series of controlled research studies conducted by prominent hyperbaric experts revealed the efficacy of HBOT for autism relief. Thereafter, HBOT has been considered to be one of the most favored options for treating autism-related complications across the nation.
The Process Of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy:
During HBOT, the autistic patient is placed in a pressurized compartment known as a hyperbaric chamber. Thereafter, an enhanced concentration of pressurized pure oxygen is administered to the patient via a tube or facemask. The pressure of the unadulterated oxygen delivered to the individual can vary between 1.2 to 5 ATA depending on the levels prescribed by the hyperbaric expert.
The pressurized environment inside the chamber dissolves the oxygen into the blood, plasma, and cerebrospinal fluids of the patient. This mixture is instantly boosted to all the affected areas of the brain that are inflammated due to the reduced flow of oxygen-rich blood.
Advantages Of Adapting HBOT For Autism Patients:
- HBOT is known to significantly improve the cerebral perfusion levels in children with ASD. Medical observers have recorded an increase in the production of numerous anti-inflammatory properties in patients post their hyperbaric therapy. A substantial lowering of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukins 1 and 6 has been observed.
- ASD patients have displayed a heightened production of vital antioxidant enzymes post their hyperbaric therapy sessions.
- Children with autism have shown considerable improvement in their mitochondrial dysfunction levels after undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
- HBOT lowers the inflammation in the intestines, thereby improving the bowel function in patients.
- Hyperbaric therapy is also known to significantly reduce oxidative stress levels in children combating ASD complications when dispensed with antioxidant supplements.
- Better levels of immunity have been noted in autistic children post hyperbaric therapy.
- A substantial improvement in basic cognitive functions in patients such as memory, focus, speech, and coordinated motor skills have been chronicled after undergoing HBOT.
What Are The Types Of Hyperbaric Chambers Available In The Market?
HBOT for autism patients can be administered through two types of chambers, namely:
Hard-Shell Hyperbaric Chamber:
A hard-shell chamber is designed to deliver unadulterated medical grade oxygen in excess of 2 ATA and is typically installed in large medical facilities. These chambers are available in single and multiple user options.
A monoplace hyperbaric chamber is specifically built for a single user and is equipped with a sealed glass window through which the experts can monitor the child through the entire hyperbaric session from outside the device.
Multiplace hyperbaric chambers can accommodate multiple individuals simultaneously during a single HBOT session.
Soft-Shell Hyperbaric Chamber:
A soft-shell chamber is also known as a mild hyperbaric chamber and is specifically designed for smaller clinics or home use. The device can be used to induce pure oxygen to patients at pressures that vary between 1.2 to 1.7 ATA. These chambers are portable and have a dual zipper system that can be operated both internally and externally.
A portable hyperbaric chamber can accommodate only one individual at a given time and can be easily transported to any location in case the autistic patients are unable to travel to a clinic.
The wide range of hyperbaric chambers that are available in the market currently gives ample opportunity to caregivers and patients to choose the preferred device keeping their need and affordability in mind.
It is advisable for parents of autistic children to understand all the parameters of the therapy at the clinic beforehand, such as:
- It is always imperative to ensure that qualified experts manage the hyperbaric facility prior to undergoing HBOT.
- The types of clothes the children are expected to wear during the treatment.
- The duration of the HBOT session.
- Whether the child can use a smartphone, tablet, or watch television during the ongoing session.
- The health insurance formalities.
These above-mentioned advantages of HBOT for autism treatment provide users and caregivers with a clear perspective on the viability and success of this adjunctive treatment method.