How hyperbaric oxygen therapy for diabetes can help with condition management
Discover the ways the healing power of oxygen can improve glucose tolerance and treat foot wounds in diabetic patients
In the United States, 37.3 million people have diabetes and 1.4 million people are diagnosed with diabetes each year. [1,2]
As part of National Diabetes Month, we’re helping bring attention to diabetes with some of the most important information on the condition as well as the ways hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be utilized by diabetics managing the chronic disease.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when your body is unable to correctly process and utilize glucose (sugar) from the food you eat causing it to excessively build up in your bloodstream. 
Although each shares the same characteristic of high blood glucose levels, there are different types of diabetes, including:
- Prediabetes occurs before Type 2 diabetes when your blood glucose levels are elevated, but not high enough to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. 
- Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that destroys the insulin-producing cells in your pancreas. Approximately 10% of diabetics have this type, and it’s predominantly diagnosed in children and young adults. It is also called juvenile diabetes and insulin-dependent diabetes. 
- Type 2 diabetes develops when your body doesn’t make enough insulin or your cells don’t respond normally to insulin. It is the most common type of diabetes affecting approximately 95% of diabetics, and it’s usually diagnosed in middle-aged and older adults. It is also called adult-onset diabetes and insulin-resistant diabetes. 
What are the risk factors of diabetes?
Although family history may play a part in all types, the risk factors of developing diabetes differ depending on the type. 
Your risk of developing Type 1 diabetes increases with the following factors:
- Family history
- Pancreatic injury
- Presence of autoantibodies
- Physical stress
- Exposure to virus-causing illnesses 
Your risk of developing prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes increases with the following factors:
- Family history
- Overweight or obese
- High blood pressure
- Low HDL cholesterol and high triglyceride levels
- Lack of regular physical activity
- Being 45 or older
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- History of heart disease or stroke
- Smoking 
Prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes has also been found to be more prevalent among people that are Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian American, and Pacific Islanders. People with gestational diabetes or women that have given birth to a baby over nine pounds are also at an increased risk of prediabetes and Type 2. 
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
The most common symptoms of all types of diabetes includes:
- Excessive thirst
- Feeling weak or tired
- Blurred vision
- Dry mouth
- Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
- Slow-healing wounds
- Unexpected weight loss
- Frequent urination
- Regular unexplained infections 
Women also commonly experience dry and itchy skin as well as frequent yeast or urinary tract infections. Men often also experience decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and weakened muscle strength. 
How can diabetes be managed?
If diagnosed, diabetes is a chronic condition that must be managed throughout your lifetime by keeping your blood glucose, blood cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in the normal range as well as controlling your blood pressure to stay healthy and avoid any complications. 
Each diabetic must work closely with their healthcare providers to create a unique treatment plan that will supply them with the tools and lifestyle choices to live a healthy and safe life with diabetes. 
Some of the most common ways to manage diabetes include:
- Following a healthy meal plan, tailored to specific needs by a dietitian or health coach when possible.
- Regularly exercising, usually at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
- Maintain a healthy weight as advised by a healthcare provider.
- Taking medication and insulin, if prescribed.
- Self-monitoring blood glucose and blood pressure at home.
- Quitting smoking.
- Attending regular check-ups with doctors and laboratory tests per doctor’s orders. 
How can hyperbaric oxygen therapy help diabetics manage their condition?
Although most often utilized to treat slow-healing diabetic foot wounds, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been increasingly studied as a treatment for diabetics to incorporate into their chronic condition management plan per their healthcare providers’ advice.
In fact, a study on the effect of HBOT on glucose tolerance in Type 2 diabetic patients found that HBOT improves glucose tolerance and suggests that it could be used as a therapeutic intervention. 
Additionally, a recent review on the value of HBOT for Type 2 diabetics called for more studies on its proven effectiveness, but did note that preliminary animal studies have been conducted with promising results on the ability of HBOT to treat microvascular complications of Type 2 diabetes such as diabetic nephropathy (which can lead to kidney damage and high blood pressure) and diabetic retinopathy (which can cause vision loss and blindness). 
Interested in learning more about hyperbaric oxygen therapy for diabetes?
Please visit our research library to view studies on the topic under ‘Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Diabetes.’
How we can help
At our medical centers in Orlando and New Smyrna Beach, our highly-qualified team at Hyperbaric Healing Treatment Center is ready to support you as you tailor the unique diabetes management plan that’s right for you.
If you’re seeking hyperbaric treatments for diabetic wounds, it’s often covered by most major insurance companies, including Medicare, but patients have to meet certain criteria for an extremely severe wound. However, diabetic patients can benefit at any stage of wound healing, so we offer out-of-pocket treatment prices for patients who do not fit into the insurance criteria or do not have insurance at all.
“We are seeing a lot of diabetic patients who do not want to wait for their wounds to worsen to meet insurance criteria and take a proactive approach on healing by undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments,” shares Erika Jordan, hyperbaric director and founder of Hyperbaric Healing Treatment Center.
“Another major benefit we see in our diabetic wound patients is relief in their neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy can be very painful, affect limbs by decreasing or increasing sensation, and even significantly impair one’s daily activities to the point of being wheelchair or cane bound due to the nerve damage,” continues Jordan. “Hyperbaric oxygen therapy stimulates angiogenesis which creates new blood vessels on the micro circular level and assists in healing nerves within the extremities and brings back blood flow which increases mobility and sensation. We have seen many benefits in our patients with diabetic and nondiabetic neuropathy who undergo a series of treatments.”
As part of our mission to provide top-of-the-line hyperbaric oxygen therapy with world-class customer service, we will submit the claims to your insurance company directly, and you will only be responsible for any copays or deductibles per your plan.
If you’re seeking treatment for other non-wound related diabetes ailments, we also offer discounted out-of-pocket packages to our patients without insurance coverage.
We’d like to share the story of one of our patients who used HBOT to heal a diabetic foot wound per this review from his daughter:
“I highly recommend Hyperbaric Healing Treatment Center! They have the sweetest, happiest, and best staff ever. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has helped my dad’s diabetic wound very much. If it wasn’t for this treatment, I don’t know what would have happened to his foot. I’m so glad we found this center. Erika and the whole team are so great, friendly, and very knowledgeable. We felt like we were going to visit family during the 60 days we went there.”
— Elaine D., via Google Reviews, Hyperbarics Orlando
We hope to see you soon at HHTC!
Our team of hyperbaric specialists are ready to answer any questions you may have before your treatments! We welcome you to contact us today.
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