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 following benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for diabetes.
A study published in the Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis (2017 Jan 1) shows that low-pressure hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be a very effective tool for helping those suffering from metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions, including increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. The syndrome increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. This study looked at only 1.25 ATA (low-pressure hyperbarics) and found that this dosage was effective enough to produce a lowering of blood sugars, blood pressure, total cholesterol, and insulin. This treatment could be in any of the Next Level Oxygen chambers, which go up to 1.3 ATA.
A study published in 2008 evaluated the efficacy of HBOT with respect to decreasing amputation rates for patients with a 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 a 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.
Recent research, published in the Journal of Diabetes (April 2018), confirms some of the reported benefits of mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy (m-HBOT) for people with diabetes. The results indicate m-HBOT can provide significant benefits for people with diabetes. Results indicated lowered fasting and non-fasting glucose, HbA1c, and triglyceride levels.
The following research highlights the benefit of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for people with diabetes.