For many people HBOT prevents their diabetic foot ulcer progressing to the stage of amputation. HBOT helps the complete healing of such ulcers thereby transforming their quality of life.
Diabetes is a metabolic disease in which the body has difficulty producing insulin. This leads to high blood glucose levels, which can damage organs, blood vessels, and nerves. This damage can make it harder for wounds to heal and such wounds are also at a higher risk of becoming infected. About 15% to 25% of people with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer. There is also the risk of lower limb amputation if the ulcers do not fully heal or become infected.
HBOT is an effective adjunctive treatment for diabetic foot ulcers as it can accelerate the healing process, reduce amputation rates/ risk of amputation and improve quality of life for the individual.
In 2014 a Cochrane review of results from multiple clinical trials concluded that “Hyperbaric Oxygen significantly reduced the risk of major amputation and may improve the chance of healing” and a more recent systematic review concluded that Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy reduces the risk of amputation.
HBOT is recognised as a treatment by Diabetes Ireland. It is one of the UHMS and ECHM approved indications. It is commonly used as a standard treatment throughout Europe, Japan and USA. Limb preservation and speedier healing make this a cost-effective method of wound care.
I noticed after my first session that I had more energy. My sleep is a lot better and I am getting out of bed a lot faster in the morning. My blood sugar level has levelled off and I am taking less insulin. I am feeling a lot better in general.
Client with Diabetes
How can Hyperbaric Oxygenation help?
Hyperbaric Oxygenation Therapy can help both Type I and Type II diabetics:
1) as an adjunct to prevent diabetic complications;
2) wound healing; and
3) stem cell production
- HBOT has been shown to help prevent diabetic complications such as numbness and tingling, wounds occurring, eye problems (diabetic retinopathy) and pain. Many of these complications are linked to poor circulation and a lack of oxygen. HBOT can help relieve these symptoms by improving circulation, increasing blood flow and oxygen supply to damaged tissue which may be able to prevent or delay the onset of certain diabetic complications. It can help fight infection, reduce inflammation and create new blood vessels.
- In hypoxic conditions, whether due to ischaemia or other factors, HBOT reduces infection and cell death and maintains tissue viability while healing occurs. For more technical information please see our resources section.
- As mentioned above HBOT can accelerate healing and fight infection. Wounds can only heal when there is sufficient oxygen available. HBOT can help provide that oxygen, particularly to compromised tissue surround a non-healing wound and can help in the formation of new blood vessels. The use of HBOT can reduce the risk of lower limb amputation for diabetics.
- HBOT has complex effects on immunity, oxygen transport and haemodynamics. The positive therapeutic effects come from a reduction in hypoxia and oedema, enabling normal host response to infection and ischaemia. For further technical information please see the resources section
- HBOT stimulates the release of stem cells. Stem cells are special human cells that are able to develop into many different cells types and repairs damaged tissue. HBOT can increase the number of stem cells circulating in the body which in turn can assist the body in its recovery and healing.
Good management and good diet can reduce the risk of diabetes complications. Hyperbaric Oxygenation can help reduce the risk of diabetes complications.
How Many Treatments?
To help determine how many sessions each individual will require, new clients can speak with OxyGeneration staff prior to commencing their Hyperbaric Oxygenation Therapy. The general recommendation for diabetic foot ulcers is one session a day for several weeks until the wound is completely healed.