November is National Diabetes Month and New Treatments give Hope for the Diabetic Foot (DF)

Diabetes Symptoms

November is National Diabetes Month and 15% of American diabetics suffer from the Diabetic Foot (DF).
Diabetes is a disease that can lead to many complications that can cause further diseases and medical issues such as blindness, kidney disease, heart attacks, strokes and amputations. Diabetes causes a deadening of nerves in the feet (diabetic neuropathy), so that the person does not experience normal pain or pressures. Thus, an ulcer in the foot, which in normal people would be painful, is often not even noticed by someone with diabetes and thus it can continue to worsen. This tendency to develop foot ulcers is one of the main problems faced by diabetics. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that about 15% of Americans with diabetes suffer from chronic foot ulcers that are very difficult to heal. This diabetic foot (DF) can lead to the development of gangrene and amputations of the toes, feet or lower limbs. This in turn can lead to a 2.5 increased risk of death.

Nitric Oxide Study

While it was known that a reduction or impairment of nitric oxide contributes to lowering the ability of the diabetic body to heal from foot ulcers, it was not known what the correct amount is and how to deliver the correct amount of nitric oxide to an open wound like a foot ulcer. Results of a study published November 9, 2018, in Medical Sciences by researchers from the Michigan Technological University show that when blood sugar levels are normal there are significantly higher amounts of nitric oxide, but high glucose (sugar) blood levels are associated with a lower amount.

Nitric Oxide Bandages

The researchers are planning to develop special bandages containing nitric oxide that will be able to release the correct amount of nitric oxide that is needed by the ulcerated foot depending on the condition of the cells. In this vein the researchers built a special device for measuring nitric oxide by hand in order to determine how much should be applied to the bandage. It is hoped that this new nitric oxide-releasing bandage will be able to heal this foot ulcer disease in less than a month, whereas now it can take a half a year or more to heal and some people end up needing amputations.

Special Laser-customizable Insoles for Sending Oxygen to Foot Ulcer

Another group of engineers from Purdue University published September, 2018 in the journal MRS Communications a description of a special laser-customizable insole that delivers oxygen to treat diabetic foot ulcers. This has the benefit of treating ulcers in patients while they are walking or standing by releasing oxygen directly to the foot ulcer. Lower pressure is achieved by sitting, but this also releases oxygen to the ulcer sore. The insole is made up of two layers of polydimethylsiloxame designed to tune the permeability of oxygen in the top layer which sends oxygen to the part of the foot where the ulcer is located and to store oxygen in the bottom layer. Click here to view a video of this insole. A patent is pending for this new insole.

Diabetes and Prediabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease that affects about 30.3 million people in the US, but only about 23.1 million of them have been diagnosed with diabetes. Prediabetes, a condition that usually leads to type 2 diabetes affects about 84.1 million. It is believed that by 2025 one in every five American adults will have diabetes.  Lifestyle changes can help to prevent prediabetes from developing into type 2 diabetes. To read more about preventing diabetes and prediabetes see our blog post from March 12, 2018.

Seniors have a High Percentage of Diabetes

The percentage for seniors over the age of 65 with diabetes is 25.2% or about 12 million seniors (diagnosed and not diagnosed with diabetes). Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the US and is listed as the underlying cause of death or the contributing cause of death for about 250,000 deaths. However, diabetes may be unreported in many cases, as studies have shown that only about 35-40% of people who had diabetes and died have diabetes listed on their death certificates.

Diabetes is an Expensive Disease

Diabetes is an expensive disease and the financial cost for people with diagnosed diabetes is 2.3 times higher than for what the cost would be if they did not have diabetes.

Royal Suites Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Galloway Township New Jersey

If you or your loved one are suffering from diabetes and need to go to a rehab for post surgical care or long-term skilled nursing care, make sure the facility offers diabetes monitoring and special wound care treatment like the Royal Suites Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Galloway Township, New Jersey.


These new treatments may be a real boon to diabetics who suffer from foot ulcers as they can promote healing, which may help prevent the onset of gangrene which leads to amputations and death.

Leave a Comment