Diabetes Vaccine Would be Promising for Pedal Problems

A vaccine for those with Type I diabetes has made news this week after its success in stimulating insulin production in patients involved in an initial 12 week clinical trial. While more individuals around the world are affected by Type II diabetes, this new diabetes vaccine could represent a huge leap in how diabetes is managed and possibly even lead to new treatment options in Type II. In both Type I & Type II diabetes, foot problems are a common complication secondary to impaired sensation and blood flow.

This new vaccine addresses the underlying cause of diabetes Type I, which is different from the cause of Type II. While the exact trigger of Type I is unknown, beta cells, which produce insulin in the pancreas, are destroyed by the body’s own immune system. The vaccine blocks the specific immune cells that are responsible for this destruction, thus increasing production of insulin. In Type II diabetes, there are a variety of genes that cause a defect in the beta cells so that they produce less insulin, as well defects in cells throughout the body that normally respond to insulin. In both types of diabetes, excess glucose in the blood attaches to proteins, causing stiffening & “aging” of blood vessels, vital organs and skin. Excess glucose also enters nerve cells and causes dysfunction and loss of blood supply.

All of these underlying factors contribute to the peripheral neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease seen in individuals with diabetes. The feet are typically affected first and diminished sensation may be accompanied by painful burning or “pins and needles” sensations. These pains are most commonly worst at night or when resting. While the pain may be extremely irritating, the loss of protective sensation is far more dangerous. Foot ulcerations may develop and go unnoticed without the normal pain signals that an individual with intact sensation would feel. These wounds are dangerous because bacteria can enter the blood stream and cause body-wide infection known as sepsis, or enough tissue loss can occur that bone is exposed. Studies have shown that the ability to probe bone in a wound is highly suggestive that the bone is infected. Wounds require regular debridement of dead tissue and in some cases may even lead to amputation if healing cannot occur or the wound condition worsens. Wounds that are able to heal by working with your podiatrist will forever be at risk for re-ulceration. The area of the previous ulceration will need to have pressure off-loaded with diabetic shoe gear, custom orthotics, or taping and padding. Foot deformities may require surgical correction to alleviate pressure that can lead to skin breakdown. While there is not yet an approved vaccine to treat either Type I or Type II diabetes, other preventative measures can lessen the negative effects of the disease. Healthy diet and exercise can prevent or delay the development of Type II diabetes. Daily foot exams and keeping blood sugar well-controlled are two mainstays of keeping feet healthy in individuals with diabetes.

Please visit www.ColumbusFoot.com for more tips for healthier and happier feet or call 614-885-3338 (FEET) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.

Columbus Podiatry & Surgery has opened a new location in Gahanna, near Easton. Please call 614-476-3338 (FEET) for an appointment with a podiatrist in Gahanna, OH today.

By Dr. Animesh (Andy) Bhatia