National Stroke Awareness Month - Prevention and Recovery

Posted on May 14, 2020

May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Strokes are the 5th leading cause of death in the USA and is the result of more serious long-term disabilities over any other disease. Knowing the risk factors is key; knowing your recovery option is hope.

Stroke is a neurological deficit attributed to an acute focal injury of the central nervous system (CNS) caused by an injury to a blood vessel. The injury is either a blood clot in a blood vessel or a rupture of a blood vessel. The area of the brain deprived by blood flow usually has a central area of most severe damage (that often dies) that is surrounded by injured tissue with decreased blood flow and neurologic dysfunction. Symptoms include facial drooping, weakness or paralysis of an arm, leg, or one side of the body, slurred speech, confusion, disorientation, numbness or tingling in the face, arm, or leg, or altered level of consciousness. If you experience any of these symptoms it is imperative that you call 911 immediately. Statistics show that 1 in 6 people will suffer from a stroke in their lifetime. Strokes can be prevented with proper diet and exercise, by controlling blood pressure and diabetes and of course avoid smoking.

If you or someone you know has experienced a stroke, hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help you recover from any residual effects. HBOT can restore a significant amount of neurological function in the brain tissue that is damaged by stroke. "Oxygen breathes new life into neurons" according to Dr. Shai Efrati of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine. He goes on to explain in his article written for the American Friends of Tel Aviv University, that neurons impacted by metabolic dysfunction have the energy to stay alive, but not enough to fire electric signals however, HBOT can increase the supply of energy to these cells. Dr. Efrati goes on to explain that the brain consumes 20% of the body's oxygen, but that is only enough to operate 5-10% of neurons at any one time. The increase in oxygen levels during hyperbaric oxygen therapy supplies the necessary energy for rebuilding neuronal connections and stimulating inactive neurons to facilitate the healing process. You can read Dr. Efrati's article in its entirety and learn more about his study that included seventy-four post-stroke patients that participated in hyperbaric oxygen therapy at

Positive outcomes have been seen in patients years past the original injury with improvements such as reversed paralysis, increased sensation and renewed use of language. Changes such as these can greatly impact the daily activities of living for a stroke survivor and allow them to regain their independence.