Can acupuncture protect against diabetes?
Acupuncture seems to be a promising way to fight against diabetes. Acupuncture has now been shown to significantly improve important markers of diabetes and lead to a strong reduction in the incidence of prediabetes.
A new study involving experts from Edith Cowan University (ECU) has assessed the effectiveness and safety of acupuncture treatments for blood sugar regulation in prediabetes. The results can be read in the English-language specialist journal "Holistic Nursing Practice".
What is prediabetes?
For the research, the team conducted a systematic review of 14 databases and studies across five clinical registry platforms. Randomized controlled studies with acupuncture interventions for the treatment of prediabetes were considered.
In prediabetes, blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetic.
The researchers identified 855 studies, 31 of which were eventually included in a final meta-analysis.
Acupuncture leads to a greater reduction in the incidence of prediabetes
Analysis of this research found that acupuncture therapy significantly improves key markers such as fasting blood sugar, two-hour blood sugar and glycated hemoglobin and leads to a significant reduction in the incidence of prediabetes, reports the 'crew.
No side effects of acupuncture treatment
The researchers also found that the studies assessed did not contain any reports of the occurrence of adverse effects in the participants.
According to study author Min Zhang, research results show that acupuncture therapy is a promising way to effectively combat diabetes.
Diabetes and prediabetes on the rise worldwide
This would protect against a disease that affects approximately 11% of the world's adult population.
“If nothing is done, 93% of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 20 years. However, unlike diabetes, prediabetes is reversible with lifestyle measures such as better diet and more exercise,” Zhang said in a press release.
However, many people find it difficult to maintain long-term lifestyle changes, so non-pharmacological treatments such as acupuncture may prove helpful, she adds.
In addition to lifestyle, other aspects can influence diabetes. "It's not just about blood sugar levels. If you have trouble sleeping, high blood pressure, or a lot of stress, that can also contribute," says Zhang.
Acupuncture can help with these factors. It can holistically help people balance their lives. Acupuncture is much more than the use of needles.
Various acupuncture point stimulation techniques
It includes a variety of acupuncture point stimulation techniques, such as light and electrical pulses, but also includes therapies from traditional Chinese medicine such as moxibustion, explains the expert. These alternatives to needles are particularly important for people with diabetes, as those affected may have skin problems.
Prevent the development of diabetes from prediabetes
"We need to keep researching acupuncture and diabetes because we need to find other ways to prevent prediabetes from developing into type 2 diabetes," Zhang said. The International Diabetes Federation estimates that by 2045 nearly 1.3 billion people will have diabetes or prediabetes.
The best time to prevent type 2 diabetes is now
“Many people with prediabetes have no symptoms and feel fine, but some people develop diabetes within six months of being diagnosed with prediabetes. Indeed, a prediabetes intervention is more of an investment than an expense. So the best time to prevent type 2 diabetes is now,” adds Zhang. (as)
Author and source informationShow now
This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
Sources:Min Zhang, Carol Chunfeng Wang, Johnny Lo: should acupuncture-related therapies be considered in the control of prediabetes? Results of a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials; in: Holistic Nursing Practice (published July/August 2022 - Volume 36 - Issue 4 - p 198-208), Holistic Nursing PracticeEdith Cowan University: Could acupuncture help prevent diabetes? (published 2022-02-08), ECU
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.