Diabetes & HBOT

Multiple studies reveal the benefits of HBOT in the treatment of diabetes.

Diabetes affects more than 12 million people and is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. With diabetes primarily affecting the small blood vessels, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been demonstrated to stimulate angiogenesis to help ameliorate compromised blood flow and prevent organ failure. Research has shown that HBOT can lower blood sugar levels by increasing cellular sensitivity to insulin and skeletal muscle reception of glucose. Furthermore, recent reports have provided evidence towards linking HBOT to regenerating pancreatic islets of Langerhans, thus potentially producing more insulin.

HBOT is often beneficial in treating osteomyelitis and cellulitis, in addition to preventing systemic toxicity and permanent disability. With chronic diabetes, impaired circulation reduces wound healing capability and promotes ulcerations. HBOT increases the amount of oxygen available to ulcerated areas, leading to increased fibroblast activation.

Studies have demonstrated the benefits of HBOT for diabetes in the following areas:

  • Blood Chemistry Profile
  • Glycemic Control
  • Cardiovascular Risk
  • Angiogenesis & Inflammation
  • Internal & External Healing

HBOT is beneficial for diabetic patients in the following areas:

Blood Chemistry Profile

  • Fasting blood sugar
  • Hemoglobin HbA1C
  • Lipid profiles

Glycemic Control

  • Increases pancreatic islets of Langerhans
  • Improves insulin sensitivity
  • Increases skeletal muscle reception of glucose

Cardiovascular Risk

  • Promotes long-term blood pressure control
  • Attenuates metabolic syndrome
  • Reduces risk of sudden heart attack due to ventricular arrhythmia
Healthy Woman Sitting on the Beach
Healthy Elderly Man Enjoying the Outdoors

Angiogenesis & Inflammation

  • Improves brain function & reduces risk of stroke
  • Enhances heart function & reduces risk of heart attack
  • Reduces risk of diabetic retinopathy
  • Decreases risk of diabetic neuropathy
  • Minimizes risk of diabetic nephropathy
  • Combats cellulitis

Internal & External Healing

  • Proliferates epithelialization
  • Promotes closure of non-healing wounds
  • Decreases risk of infection
  • Ameliorates ulceration
  • Reduces risk of amputation
  • Remediates osteomyelitis

Study: HBOT Reduces Amputation Rate Among Diabetic Patients

A study published in 2008 evaluated the efficacy of HBOT with respect to decreasing amputation rates for patients with diabetic foot ulcer. A total of 184 consecutive patients received an average of 39 HBOT sessions (60 to 120 minutes a day, six times a week with patients’ progress evaluated at 3, 6 & 12 months) as an adjunct to standard treatment modalities for diabetic foot ulcer. Following treatment, 115 (62 percent) were completely healed, 31 (17 percent) showed no improvement and 38 (21 percent) underwent amputation.

HBOT’s success was illustrated by the attenuation to hypoxic tissue by the mechanisms of angiogenesis, fibroblast replication, collagen synthesis, revascularization, epithelialization and increased leukocyte bactericidal activity. This study confirmed that HBOT can help to reduce major amputation rates in diabetic foot ulcers by repairing tissue. This finding is especially noteworthy considering other conventional treatments had failed.

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