Diabetic foot care is of extreme importance to those managing diabetes. Foot ulcers are a source of sometimes intolerable pain and long-standing medical problems for people living with the disease. If not properly treated, diabetic foot complications can lead to amputation and an obviously drastic change in associated lifestyle. There is, however, hope on the horizon for anyone dealing with such an issue in the form of an emerging alternative therapy.
A recent study conducted by the “Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery” cited that Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO) therapy may have significant benefits in treating foot ulcers and ultimately reducing the number of associated amputations involved with them.
The study simply involved 100 subjects, plenty sufficient, with diabetic foot ulcers and compared HBO therapy with the application of standard therapy. The results of the patients receiving standard therapy were that 48 percent of them needed distal amputation and 34 percent of them required proximal amputation. The patients receiving HBO therapy, however, only included 8 percent receiving distal amputation with ZERO patients requiring proximal amputation.
“The benefits of HBO therapy accrue over time, in part due to savings from averted major amputations. The cost of a series of HBO treatments is less than the cost of a major amputation if HBO is, in fact, limb-saving.” (Dr. Caroline Fife, Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston)
Dr. Fife goes on to note that the selection of patients for the time being at least, should be restricted to those that would not have properly healed with the treatment of traditional therapy alone. Nor should HBO be used for patients with severe vascular disease because they will not respond properly to the treatment.
Although not perfect, HBO is a new therapy that shows some promise for those dealing with diabetic foot ulcers. If nothing else, the reduced number of amputations involved is a tremendous benefit that deems HBO suitable for further exploration from the everybody involved with the treatment of this common problem.
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