Newswise — More than 18-million people in the United States, or 6.3% of the population, have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.
Unfortunately, when someone becomes diabetic, chronic non-healing wounds often develop, most often in the legs and feet. These wounds can be uncomfortable and even life-threatening.
There are many types of treatments. One of the most painless and successful is hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a specialized medical treatment inside a pressurized chamber, in which a patient breathes 100 percent oxygen at greater than normal atmospheric pressure.
The Center for Wound Care at Northwest Hospital in Randallstown, Maryland uses HBOT to treat stubborn, non-healing diabetic ulcers.
When the oxygen, which is delivered into the bloodstream, it helps fight certain infections and stimulates the growth of new blood vessels, which generally improves circulation.
“Patients receiving HBOT can see dramatic results as early as two weeks from the start of treatment. “Another big benefit is that this therapy is noninvasive,” says Alan S. Davis, M.D., F.A.C.S, director of the Center for Wound Care and HBOT at Northwest Hospital. “If standard wound therapies prove to be inadequate within a certain time frame, HBOT should be considered and can be done at the same time patients are receiving other treatment.”
Once the patient is comfortably positioned inside the HBOT chamber, air pressure is gradually increased.
A patient may experience fullness in the ears as a result. However, a technician instructs him or her about how to help clear the pressure and relieve any discomfort.
Most treatment sessions in the chamber last approximately two hours. During this time, patients watch TV or videos, relax or sleep.
In addition to treating diabetic wounds, HBOT also treats osteomyelitis, post-radiation complications and compromised skin flaps, among other things.
The HBOT program at Northwest Hospital has earned accreditation from the influential Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society. Fewer than 100 programs in the United States have achieved this designation.