Asymmetries in thermal regulation: More clues to diabetic foot ulceration and reulceration?

Some intriguing data on thermoregulation and asymmetries courtesy of colleagues in Puebla, Mexico. Enjoy the full text here.

Francisco J, Renero, C

INAOE, Puebla, Mexico.

Background: Thermoregulation is a complex autonomic process to keep or to dissipate heat in the human body.

Methods: In this work, by means of the thermogram of the plantar skin, the thermoregulation of healthy individuals, overweight–obese, and diabetic is discussed.

Results: The thermograms of the plantar skin, for the healthy individuals, are: (1) symmetrical, the temperature distribution of the right foot being a mirror image of that of the left foot ; (2) the thermograms of women, on average, are 3°C colder than those of the men; and (3) the temperature distributions decrease distally from the medial longitudinal arch. The plantar skin thermograms of overweight–obese individuals show: (1) increased average temperature of both feet and for both genders; (2) no symmetry between the left and right feet thermograms; and (3) the temperature distribution is still decreasing from the medial longitudinal arch to the periphery of the foot. However, the standard deviation, for each averaged temperature of the angiosomes, shows greater uncertainty. Most thermograms of diabetic individuals show temperature increase on the plantar skin, and are mostly symmetric between left and right feet.

Conclusions: An asymmetric thermogram of the plantar skin of diabetic individuals, where one foot is hotter than the other, may mean that the coldest foot is losing the capacity to communicate properly with the central nervous system and/or that vasoconstriction/vasodilatation is having problems in regulating the passing of blood through the vessels. Thus, the asymmetric thermograms of diabetic patients, and particularly those coldest regions of foot are of interest, because of the reduction of the local autonomic sensing and the lack of achieving properly the passing of the blood.

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