Dealing with Diabetes
Diabetes is a collection of conditions that result in too much glucose (sugar) in the blood. Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the pancreas produces little to no insulin due to an overactive immune system attacking the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Insulin is a hormone that regulates the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and protein by controlling the absorption of glucose from the blood into other areas of the body. Patients with Type 1 Diabetes have to take supplemental insulin to keep their glucose levels regulated. Type 2 Diabetes has recently been gaining ground to be classified as an autoimmune disease. A patient with Type 2 produces enough insulin, however, their cells don’t react properly to it creating a condition called insulin resistance. The pancreas continues to create an overabundance of insulin in an attempt to feed the cells. The level of sugar in the blood increases to dangerous levels resulting in the symptoms associated with Type 2 Diabetes.
Patients with diabetes often experience damage to nerves causing neuropathy. Over time, high levels of blood sugar may damage the blood vessels resulting in a loss of circulation to limbs. This is why some patients experience ulcers that don’t heal and potentially require amputation.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been utilized in the treatment of diabetes for a variety of reasons. It has been proven that extensive treatments can produce new blood vessels, a process called angiogenesis. By creating new routes for blood to flow through, the patient can experience better circulation, especially to limbs that have been affected by diabetic induced tissue damage. Many patients have reported a reduction or complete cessation of neuropathy. Increased circulation may also prevent the need for limb removal in patients with severe diabetic ulcers. Hyperbarics has been extensively studied for its healing potential of slow or non-healing wounds, especially in diabetes. Hyperbarics has also been shown to regulate glucose levels which may help control insulin production.