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ISSN: 2690-5760

Journal of Clinical & Community Medicine

Opinion(ISSN: 2690-5760)

Acupuncture and Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy Volume 2 - Issue 3

Lifang Xie*

  • Susan Sanueli Integrative Health Institute, UC Irvine, USA

Received: September 21, 2020   Published: November 03, 2020

Corresponding author: Lifang Xie, PhD, Susan Sanueli Integrative Health Institute, UC Irvine, USA

DOI: 10.32474/JCCM.2020.02.000140


Abstract PDF

Introduction & Literature Review

The International Diabetes Federation estimates that 425 million people worldwide have diabetes [1], making it the largest global epidemic of the 21st century [2]. The prevalence of neuropathy in patients with diabetes is approximately 30%, and up to 50% will eventually develop neuropathy during the course of their disease [3]. Diabetes can damage the peripheral nervous system in a variety of ways, but the most common presentation is a distal symmetric polyneuropathy (DSP), which is characterized by numbness, tingling, pain, and/or weakness that affect the nerves in a “stocking and glove” pattern beginning in the distal extremities. DSP leads to substantial pain, morbidity, and impaired quality of life. Societal, personal, and healthcare costs associated with diabetic neuropathy are high. Due to a lack of treatments that target the underlying nerve damage, prevention focusing on glucose control and lifestyle modifications is the key component of diabetes care [4,5]. There are currently no approved disease-modifying therapies for DSP or other forms of diabetic neuropathy, and multiple clinical trials for these conditions have failed.
Acupuncture is a component of the health care system of China that can be traced back for at least 2,500 years [6].This is a minimally invasive surgery in which a fine metal needle is inserted into a specific body point (acupoint) and slowly twisted manually to stimulate for therapeutic purposes. With simple operation, low cost, and few adverse reactions, acupuncture therapy is very popular among Chinese people. As a therapeutic intervention, acupuncture has also been used by millions of American patients and performed by thousands of physicians, dentists, acupuncturists, and other practitioners for relief or prevention of pain and for a variety of health conditions [7]. Over the past decades, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has funded a variety of research projects on acupuncture, including studies on the mechanisms by which acupuncture may produce its effects, as well as clinical trials and other studies. Current data indicated that both manual acupuncture [8,9]and electro-acupuncture [10]were superior to control conditions in diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN).The acupointsused for DPN includeLi4, Li10, Li11, Li15, St31, ST32 St34 St36, St43, St44, SP3 SP6,Sp8, Sp9, Sp10, Bl17 BL18, BL20, BL23, BL58, GB30, GB34, CV4, CV6, and Bafeng, Baxie. Most of them are located near the peripheral nerveswhich may exert its effect bydirectly stimulating on the underlying nerve and peri-neural tissues. Among all the clinical studies published so far, ST36 [11-18] and SP6 [11,12,14-16] were the most commonly used acupoints. ST36 is commonly indicated for nervous disorders such as foot paralysis and leg pain [12,19]. SP6 is also used for leg pain, and often indicated for blood and metabolic conditions, such as diabetes19. It has also been shown that Acupuncture at CV12, LI11, LI4, SP10, ST36, and SP9 could improve glomerular filtration and reduce urinary albumin excretion rate of DN patients systematically [20]. Therefore, acupuncture could be a promising alternative treatment strategy for patients with DPN.


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