Latest News » Researchers find new way to monitor health risk linked to diabetes

Diabetes can cause life-threatening complications

Fatigue, frequent urination and infection are just some of the symptoms that people with diabetes have to contend with on a daily basis. However, this widespread condition can also cause more severe health complications that may be life-threatening. One such ailment is peripheral arterial disease (PAD), when the blood flow is constricted in the legs because of plaque buildup in the arteries there.

According to the American Diabetes Association, one out of every three diabetics over 50 years old has developed PAD. This is a serious concern for physicians because people with PAD are more prone to heart attacks and strokes. Such risks are further heightened by the fact that most people with this condition don’t realize they have it until they’ve reached the later stages, the association states.

Now, though, scientists have developed a new way to test diabetics for this detrimental affliction. A press release from the Optical Society of America (OSA) announced that a research team from Columbia University have created an imaging mechanism to diagnose and track the progress of PAD by monitoring blood flow in at-risk individuals. The academics involved in the enterprise predict that the new technology, which is called dynamic diffuse optical tomography imaging (DDOT), will be implemented in hospitals sometime in the next three years.

“Currently, there are no good methods to assess and monitor PAD in diabetic patients,” said the director of Columbia’s Biophotonics and Optical Radiology lab, Dr. Andreas Hielscher.

This fact could account for the number of undiagnosed PAD cases. As a result, researchers are optimistic that DDOT may be able to detect the condition at an early stage in many patients, and facilitate its continued treatment.

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