537 million adults are living with diabetes. This number will rise to 643 million by 2030 and 783 million by 2045. The warning signs of diabetes can be so mild that you don’t notice them. That’s especially true of type 2 diabetes. Some people don’t find out they have it until they get problems from long-term damage caused by the disease.
Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation. The latter is often the consequence of irreparable damage usually caused by diabetic foot ulcer (DFU). Not being able to feel their feet due to neuropathy, patients with diabetes need to be aware of early warning signs that something is going on:
- changes in skin colour
- changes in skin temperature
- swelling in the foot or ankle
- pain in the legs
- open sores on the feet that are slow to heal or are draining
- ingrown toenails or toenails infected with fungus
- corns or calluses
- dry cracks in the skin, especially around the heel
Standard treatments for DFU
Foot care specialists should perform CPR for feet every time they treat patients with diabetes. It comprises 3 stages: Check, Protect and Refer. (1)
Very often, patients with diabetes develop diabetic foot ulcers (DFU), which is a break in the skin or a deep sore that does not heal well and usually gets infected. Foot ulcers can evolve from minor scrapes, cuts, bunions, blisters, etc. They should be treated as soon as they are noticed.
If not treated properly, complications of diabetic foot ulcer can occur. These encompass:
- skin and bone infections
- Charcot’s foot
Once at this stage, medical care needs to be all-inclusive, providing help on many levels. This ideally means including many professionals, such as diabetologists, vascular surgeons, podiatrists, orthopaedists, rehabilitation specialists, diabetic nurses and others. This, of course, comes at a price. Globally, an estimated 966 billion U.S. dollars was spent on diabetes-related healthcare in 2021, (2) meaning almost 40 per cent of the global expenditures for the treatment of diabetes was spent in the United States. Furthermore, global healthcare spending for the condition is projected to grow to an estimated one trillion U.S. dollars by 2045.
However, very few patients get such a well-rounded treatment. More often than not, their diabetes and all its complications are not noticed or treated before it is too late. Even in the USA, where one could expect a high level of medical care, people fight to get referrals (3) to a podiatrist, and by the time they see one, it is already too late. Antibiotics and wound dressings do not work anymore. Even minor amputations do not prevent further damage from happening. Losing a limb is a sad reality for people with diabetes since 20% of diabetic foot infections result in amputation (4), and after a major amputation, 50 % of people die. (5) This may be the case at the moment, but something has to be done pre-and postoperatively and in terms of preventative measures.
Hyperbaric therapy brings results
Hyperbaric therapy (HBOT) is a procedure where a person breathes pure oxygen under pressure up to two or more times higher than normal. Under these conditions, the oxygen in our body is dissolved in blood plasma and can thus reach even the most ischemic parts of the body. This treatment supports processes in our body that promote healing even in the most challenging cases.
- Angiogenesis and neovascularization: the body begins to grow new blood vessels and capillaries and brings fresh oxygen supplies to tissues and organs.
- Vasoconstriction: during hyperbaric oxygen therapy, capillary transduction decreases and causes the reduction of oedema.
- Effect on leukocytes: when the oxygen pressure is increased, the normal activity of leukocytes is restored.
- Antibiotic effect: hyperoxic environment kills anaerobic bacteria and enhances the effect of certain antibiotics.
Research supports that HBOT is beneficial in treating nonhealing wounds. David N Teguh M.D., PhD et al. (6) report that “Before referral to our clinic, 31% of all wounds had existed for at least 18 months (72 patients). After HBOT, 81% of all wounds were near complete healing or completely healed.”
AHA Medical Solution for every healthcare provider
During our 20 years of experience in the hyperbaric field, many diabetic patients with chronic wounds were treated in our chambers. After the first ten treatments, the progress was barely noticeable. But each treatment after that brought significant improvement all the way to the point where they were no longer necessary. That is one of the reasons we have developed complete AHA Hyperbaric Solutions – to help you start treating people as soon as possible.
AHA Medical Solution helps doctors and other medical professionals achieve results comparable to what they might expect from a hospital multiplace chamber. Except AHA hyperbaric chambers are portable, do not require substantial oxygen tanks and come at a fraction of the price of a rigid monoplace or multiplace medical chamber. In addition to that, they are certified for several medical indications. One of which is diabetic foot ulcer.
AHA Hyperbarics provides complete turn-key solutions that can be delivered quickly to where they are needed the most. Primary healthcare providers can start using it to treat patients with diabetes and thus stop losing any more time. AHA Medical Solution allows any family doctor, podiatrist, or surgeon to bring back the quality of their patient’s lives and save as many limbs from amputation as possible.
- Image source: https://diabeticfootonline.com/2014/11/09/to-prevent-the-next-footattack-know-foot-cpr/