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eISSN: 1643-3750

Acupuncture Combined with Hydrotherapy in Diabetes Patients with Mild Lower-Extremity Arterial Disease: A Prospective, Randomized, Nonblinded Clinical Study

Zhengqin Qi, Yan Pang, Lin Lin, Bing Zhang, Juntao Shao, Xiaodong Liu, Xin Zhang

(Department of General Ultrasound, First Hospital of Qinhuangdao, Qinhuangdao, Hebei, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2018; 24:2887-2900

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.909733

Published: 2018-05-08


BACKGROUND: The aim of this pragmatic study was to explore the intervention of acupuncture combined with hydrotherapy and perceived effects in type 2 diabetic patients with recently diagnosed, mild, lower-extremity arterial disease (LEAD) in comparison with a control group.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: One hundred twenty-six diabetes patients who were diagnosed mild LEAD according to ankle-brachial blood pressure index (ABPI) and peripheral neuropathy symptom were randomly assigned to either an experimental (n=64) or control group (n=62). The experimental group attended and completed (1) a 30-min session of acupuncture in certain selected points, and (2) a 30-min hydrotherapy exercise every 2 days for 15 weeks. The outcome parameters were assessed at baseline, after intervention, and at 6-week follow-up.
RESULTS: The intervention was associated with an improvement in leg flow conductance and partial physical capacities, including chair-sit-and-reach, the walking impairment questionnaire (WIQ), and physical component summary score (PCS), compared to the control group. The treatment benefits were sustained throughout the 6-week follow-up endpoint. There was no difference in fasting glucose levels, Hb1Ac, blood pressure, or BMI after the intervention. At the endpoint of 6-week follow-up, acupuncture plus hydrotherapy appeared to reduce inflammatory response by decreasing IL-6, TNF-α, malondialdehyde, and SOD, and increasing glutathione.
CONCLUSIONS: Acupuncture plus hydrotherapy, without significant glycemic-controlling effects in the type 2 diabetic patients with mild LEAD, exerts a measurable benefit in disease-specific physical functions and health-related quality of life. Our results suggest that the combined therapy regulates the inflammatory process and oxidative stress and contributes to immune protection.

Keywords: Acupuncture, diabetes, Hydrotherapy, inflammatory, Lower-Extremity Arterial Disease, Oxidative Stress



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