Diabetic foot treatment: Here’s all you need to know about stem cell therapy

Diabetes is nothing less than a pandemic as according to the World Health Organization, about 422 million people have diabetes worldwide. High blood sugar levels affect different organs and tissues of the body leading to a compromised quality of life for example, you might have experienced or heard of tingling sensation, numbness, or pain in the legs/feet of patients with diabetes which as per the health experts, occur due to nerve and blood circulation-related problems caused by the negative effects of high glucose levels on cells and tissues.

Foot-related problems occur commonly in patients with diabetes like if we hurt our toe/foot and have an open wound or cut, the nerve endings from the affected part send signals to the brain and cause pain. In case a person with uncontrolled and long-standing diabetes, the sensation of pain may not be transmitted properly due to nerve issues, leading to the patient ignoring the problem and in such cases, even a small cut can progress to a large size wound (as we know wound healing is affected in diabetic patients).

Infection can spread from the feet through the blood to other parts of the body as well and in the feet specifically, increased severity of the issue can lead to gangrene, ultimately necessitating amputation of the toes/foot. It is therefore important to look out for issues such as cuts, bruises, red spots, warm areas, swelling, blisters, corn, etc. in the feet to identify any issue at the earliest and initiate treatment.

From an advanced treatment perspective, Dr Pradeep Mahajan, Regenerative Medicine Researcher at Navi Mumbai’s StemRx Bioscience Solutions Pvt Ltd, talked about regenerative medicine for diabetic foot in an interview with HT Lifestyle. He explained, “Regenerative medicine is about using biological molecules to enhance the healing potential of the body. These molecules are cells, growth factors, exosomes, peptides, all of which function to enhance the function of other cells in the body, reduce inflammation, regulate the immune system, provide a constant pool of healthy cells, and clear tissue damage, among other functions.”

He highlighted that the treatment for diabetic foot includes a combination of mesenchymal stem cells, growth factors that improve nerve health and blood vessel formation, oxygen therapy, as well as allied stimulation-based treatments. He said, “We have seen successful outcomes in diabetic foot conditions following cell-based therapy. Patients experience relief from abnormal sensations in the feet, better wound healing and pain along with better control of diabetes.”

Dr Mahajan added, “When we target the pathology, we get more definitive treatment outcomes. Our patients with diabetic foot do not progress to develop gangrene. In fact, they even achieve better control of blood glucose levels, which prevents further complication and improves their quality of life. The key is a regenerative (not symptomatic) treatment along with lifestyle modifications.”

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