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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy And Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. With types 2 diabetes your body doesn’t use insulin properly. Most people are able to control their blood sugar levels with healthy eating, exercise and/or with medication. Over the course of several years or decades, diabetes can damage the small blood vessels and nerves in patients’ limbs. Diabetes compromises the immune system delaying the healing process in patients.

In hyperbaric oxygen therapy, studies have found that the treatment can improve the healing of wounds in people with diabetes. A potential problem in people with diabetes is that wounds may become infected. Wounds that won’t heal are serious, and complications such as infection can result in patients who do not seek proper treatment. In extreme cases, it may be necessary to amputate limbs, which should be a last resort.

How Successful Is HBOT on Diabetes?

The aim is to increase the supply of oxygen to the tissue, and help the wound to heal better. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy ameliorates glucose tolerance in diabetic patients. Studies have shown that hyperbaric oxygen therapy could be used as a therapeutic intervention for type 2 diabetes. The treatment takes place in a pressurized chamber where the air pressure is increased to 2 or 3 times the outside atmosphere.

The air inside the chamber is 100% oxygenated. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy sessions take place every day over a period of several weeks or months. One session usually lasts about 1 to 2 hours. This treatment is always done in addition to the normal treatments for wounds. It can’t replace intensive wound care but it does assist with the healing process.

"Studies have shown that hyperbaric oxygen therapy could be used as a therapeutic intervention for type 2 diabetes."

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Diabetic Foot Wounds

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been used to treat diabetic foot wounds for over 20 years. The first controlled trial was reported in the medical journal Diabetes Care. Proponents of HBOT have suggested that the demonstrated benefits of HBOT, including “improving wound tissue hypoxia, enhancing perfusion, reducing edema, downregulating inflammatory cytokines, promoting fibroblast proliferation, collagen production, and angiogenesis,” make it useful for problems like foot ulcers.

HBOT has been used in the past to treat difficult conditions such as soft tissue bone infections, improving leukocyte and macrophage function, and enhancing the effect of antimicrobials. Therefore, HBOT has been suggested to dramatically reduce the risk of amputation in diabetic patients with foot wounds. Both patients and providers look to avoid amputation, and more clinical trials are needed to cement HBOT as a powerful treatment for diabetes.

While most of the published papers on HBOT as a treatment for diabetic foot wounds have had limitations, positive results’ consistency is a promising signal. A  2004 systematic review based on results from four trials showed that “HBOT significantly reduced the risk of major amputation and may improve the chance of healing at 1 year” but, “… the small number of studies … modest numbers of patients, methodological and reporting inadequacies … demand a cautious interpretation”. In another study by Löndahl et al., they demonstrated in a randomized control of 16 nondiabetic patients with a nonischemic chronic leg ulcer that HBOT significantly reduced the wounds’ size during a 6-week observation period. 

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is showing promising results for the treatment of diabetic conditions. 

World-Class HBOT in Century City, Margate, and Woodland Hills

At Aalto Hyperbaric, we have three state-of-the-art hyperbaric oxygen treatment centers in Century CityMargate, and Woodland Hills.  Our treatments are safe, painless, and non-invasive. They are scientifically proven to treat a number of temporary and chronic conditions that traditional medicine may not address. Schedule an appointment with us today at 1-888-303-HBOT, or email us anytime at info@aaltohyperbaric.com.

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