Oxygen is vital for tissue regeneration and preventing repeat infections. Every stage in the wound healing process requires oxygen. Blood hemoglobin levels, cardiovascular strength, and pulmonary gas control the oxygen levels to the injured area. Wounds will either be hypoxic, normoxic, or hyperoxic. Oxygen is key in successful wound healing.
Hypoxia, normoxia, and hyperoxia
There are three stages of oxygen saturation:
* Hypoxia is a state of oxygen deficit. In this state, there is not enough oxygen in the blood or tissues to support sufficient cardio output. During hypoxia, the rate of wound healing slows.
*Normoxia is a state of oxygen equilibrium. Oxygen is present in balanced quantities to support healthy cardiovascular output and organ function. During normoxia, wound healing progresses at a normal rate and can even speed up. Hyperoxia is a state of oxygen excess, the opposite of hypoxia. *Hyperoxia is when too much oxygen is present in the body. While an increase in oxygen can lead to more rapid healing, the same increase can also create oxygen toxicity. Free radicals form during high oxygen concentration and can lead to damaged cells and tissues. Free radicals hinder wound healing. The goal is to be in a state of normoxia, or balanced oxygen saturation.
How does oxygen help heal?
Oxygen helps to heal through promoting tissue regeneration. In the presence of an injury or wound, the body requires increased cell growth, bacterial defense, and collagen production to begin the healing process. Low O2 levels are exacerbated by inflammation and poor circulation. Inflammation blocks oxygen flow to the affected area, slowing the healing process. Oxygen is needed to reduce the inflammation. Wounds that do not receive sufficient oxygen can experience tissue death, known as necrosis.
How to increase oxygen flow?
Reducing inflammation is essential in allowing enough oxygen to reach the wounded area. Changes in lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise can help the body heal and reduce inflammation. Access to fresh air and introducing plants to the home can increase oxygen intake. Doctor-approved exercises and iron-rich foods will increase blood oxygen levels. When these changes are not enough, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) can be an effective treatment. HBOT involves exposing the body to pressurized oxygen to promote healing.
Oxygen is crucial
Oxygen and wound healing have a very close relationship. Oxygen helps reduce inflammation, thereby promoting blood circulation and new cell growth. The more oxygen there is, the higher the chance of speedy recovery. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out if HBOT is the right treatment option for faster wound healing.