When my father suffered a stroke six years ago, I wanted to do everything in my power to help him. Watching him struggle inspired me to study all I could about stroke recovery.
May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States suffers a stroke. Citrus County has one of the highest stroke rates in the state. In 2021, more than 800 people here were hospitalized because of a stroke.
Nearly 2 million brain cells can die every minute during an acute stroke, often leaving behind lasting physical, cognitive and emotional impacts.
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Physical and occupational rehabilitation are imperative to help survivors restore some lost function and adapt to their disabilities. Unfortunately, after about six months most are released from therapy and told not to expect many further improvements.
Although learning to speak, walk, and write again is essential, rehab does not address the source of their deficiencies – the injury to their brain tissue.
Recovery doesn’t need to stop after six months. An evidence-based intervention is helping survivors restore lost function, even years after their stroke. Peer-reviewed, published research suggests that a specialized hyperbaric oxygen (HBOT) protocol can restore additional function in stroke survivors.
Thanks to tabloid news, celebrity hype and fringe medical spas, HBOT has received a bad rap. But when administered by medical professionals using a scientifically backed protocol, HBOT can effectively increase blood flow and oxygen to damaged parts of the brain.
I have treated stroke patients with this protocol, in combination with physical therapy, cognitive training and dietary coaching. This combination, known as the Aviv Medical Program, is only available in Central Florida and is delivering outstanding results to stroke survivors even years after the incident.
Nobody should have to watch a parent, child or other loved one needlessly suffer after a stroke. For the hundreds of thousands of stroke survivors in the United States, there is still hope for recovery.
Unfortunately, this treatment is not covered by insurance. It’s a disservice to stroke survivors when their recovery is capped after just a few months of rehabilitation, even with scientific evidence that shows that we can still do much more for them.
We will continue to gather comprehensive data on the efficacy of HBOT and the Aviv Medical Program for stroke survivors so that one day everyone will have an opportunity to continue their stroke recovery journey.
Dr. Mohammed Elamir is lead physician at Aviv Clinics in The Villages.
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