Acupuncture Combined with Hydrotherapy in Diabetes Patients with Mild Lower-Extremity Arterial Disease: A Prospective, Randomized, Nonblinded Clinical Study.
Med Sci Monit. 2018 May 8 ;24:2887-2900. Epub 2018 May 8. PMID: 29735963
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.