Could acupuncture help ward off diabetes?

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It’s been used for thousands of years to treat a variety of illnesses—and now acupuncture could also help fight one of the 21stThe biggest health problems of the century

Edith Cowan University recently published a study that found acupuncture therapy could be useful in avoiding type-2 diabetes.

The research team examined dozens of studies on the effects of Acupuncture on prediabetes, which is a condition where blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be considered as diabetes.

The results showed that acupuncture therapy significantly improved key markers such as fasting glucose, two-hour plasma glucose and glycated hemoglobin. There was also a greater incidence of prediabetes.

There were no adverse reactions reported by patients.

Min Zhang, Ph.D. candidate, is the lead researcher. She said that this showed great promise in acupuncture therapy as an alternative to diabetes treatment. This disease is estimated to affect 11% of the world’s adult populations.

According to the International Diabetes Federation, nearly 1.3 billion people will be living with diabetes or prediabetes in 2045 according to estimates.

Ms Zhang said that without intervention, 93 percent people with prediabetes could develop type 2 diabetes within 20-years.

“But unlike diabetes and prediabetes, it can be reversed with lifestyle interventions like a better diet and more exercise.”

“But many people struggle long-term to make lifestyle changes, so non-pharmacological treatments, such as acupuncture, could prove beneficial.”

A holistic approach

Though diabetes is often associated to lifestyle factors, other aspects of life may also have an impact—which is where acupuncture comes in.

Ms Zhang stated, “It’s about more than blood sugar levels.”

“If you suffer from sleep problems, high blood Pressure, or excessive stress, these may also be contributing factors.

“Acupuncture can help you balance your life and help you manage these issues.”

Ms Zhang said it’s important to note acupuncture therapy is more than just using needles—it refers to a big family of acupoint stimulation techniques, such as light and electric pulses, and includes other traditional Chinese medicine therapies such as moxibustion.

She said, “This is important because diabetics can have problems with their skin, so maybe it might not always be ideal for you to use needles.”

“We need more research on acupuncture and diabetes because we need more ways to prevent prediabetes from developing into type 2 diabetes.”

“Many people with prediabetes don’t have any symptoms and feel fine. However, some people develop diabetes within 6 months of being diagnosed.

“In reality, prediabetes intervention can be an investment and not an expenditure.

“So, the best time for type 2 diabetes prevention is now.”

“Should Acupuncture and Related Therapies be Considered in Prediabetes Control?” Results from a Systematic Review & Meta-analysis Randomized Controlled Trials” was published. Holistic Nursing Practice.

Study shows strong association between prediabetes, heart attack risk, and prediabetes

More information:
Min Zhang et.al. Should Acupuncture and Related Therapies be Considered for Prediabetes Control? Results from a Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials and Meta-analysis, Holistic Nursing Practice (2022). DOI: 10.1097/HNP.0000000000000530

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Edith Cowan University

Could acupuncture be a way to combat diabetes? (2022, August 2)
Retrieved 5 August 2022
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