Poke those Heart Disease Perils

From the Healthcare Medical Institute:

Acupuncture Reduces Heart Disease Risk

Researchers have concluded that acupuncture reduces the risk of coronary heart disease in patients who have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. A massive sample size of over 158 420 patients with fibromyalgia were included in the study. A total of 81 843 patients received acupuncture treatments and 76 582 patients never received acupuncture. A total of 12 522 patients developed coronary heart disease during the follow-up period. 4 389 patients receiving acupuncture developed coronary heart disease but 8 133 patients, that did not receive acupuncture, developed coronary heart disease. The researchers conclude that acupuncture “significantly decreased the risk of CHD [coronary heart disease] in patients with fibromyalgia with or without comorbidities.

203. acupuncture

Acupuncture decreased the risk of coronary heart disease equally for both men and women. The risk of coronary heart disease increased with the age of patients; however, acupuncture decreased risks across all age groups. In addition, acupuncture decreased the risk of coronary heart disease regardless of whether or not patients took steroid medications, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), or statins.

Patients receiving acupuncture averaged a total of 7.45 acupuncture sessions. A total of 85% of patients received manual acupuncture, 3.6% received electroacupuncture, and 10.7% received both manual acupuncture and electroacupuncture treatments. The duration of needle retention time averaged between 20 – 30 minutes per acupuncture session. The elicitation of deqi was a basic requirement by the TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) doctors.

Most TCM doctors applying acupuncture in the study had a baccalaureate degree from a 7 – 8 year medical doctor program of study. A smaller number of TCM doctors had a post-baccalaureate TCM degree from a 5 year medical doctor program. Acupuncture point selection was individualized based upon differential diagnostics. Importantly, this differs from the majority of research where there is a protocolized, fixed set of acupuncture points assigned to all patients.

The researchers note that prior independent investigations demonstrate that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of fibromyalgia. This study did not investigate clinical efficacy towards alleviation of fibromyalgia itself, but rather investigated whether or not acupuncture prevents coronary heart disease in patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The researchers conclude that “the incidence of CHD was significantly lower in the acupuncture cohort than in the no-acupuncture cohort.”

The researchers cite this interest in acupuncture’s ability to protect the heart from damage because pregabalin was the first FDA approved medication for the treatment of fibromyalgia. Pregabalin has been proven to reduce pain, improve sleep, and reduce fatigue in patients with fibromyalgia. The researchers note that “pregabalin has cardiac adverse effects because it may induce heart failure” and acupuncture attenuates “both ischemic injury of the heart and heart failure.” Based on these findings, the researchers recommend a study to determine if acupuncture ameliorates the adverse effects of pregabalin in an effort to reduce risks associated with drug therapy.

The researchers note that the prevention of coronary heart disease may be due to acupuncture’s ability to improve sleep quality. The research team cited prior research demonstrating acupuncture’s ability to alleviate insomnia. They add that insomnia is “highly associated with fibromyalgia and CHD.”

Common fibromyalgia comorbidities (e.g., hypertension, diabetes, heart disease) are associated with elevated levels of systemic inflammation. The researchers note that the prevention of coronary heart disease may be due to acupuncture’s ability to reduce inflammation. The researchers note, “Many previous studies of acupuncture were focused on the analgesic effect of acupuncture, but additional studies in recent years demonstrated that acupuncture attenuated inflammation. Acupuncture attenuated inflammation through the vagus nerve mediated by dopamine.”Untitled

Mommy’s Little Helper

Four new little white pills have been added to my morning diet – Prednisolone.

Prednisolone is used to reduce inflammation in the body. Because I had an MRI on my feet, due to the incredible pains I have in my feet – does anyone else have this? – and it showed some inflammation, my doctor decided to prescribe this for me for a week. Basically, it’s a test. Whatever happens I won’t be staying on it, as it can cause huge weight gain and I already have too much of this problem. So, if it works to help reduce pain, my doctor will be trying to find another, similar agent to do the same thing. If it doesn’t work, then it’s on to the next strategy.

Prednisolene is a glucocorticoid, sometimes known as a steroid or corticosteroid. It is used to treat many illnesses, including serious illness, involving inflammation in the body, and to stop reactions known as autoimmune reactions which occur when the body’s immune system attacks the body itself and causes damage. It stops the body from producing a substance that causes tenderness, swelling and irritation. Ooh – sounds good!

In general this drug is used for allergies including severe allergic reactions, inflammation affecting the lungs (including asthma), blood vessels, heart, bowel, kidneys, muscles and joints (including rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatic fever and systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE), eye, ear or nervous system.

They should not be confused with male or female steroid hormones, which are known for their misuse among athletes. So I will not be displaying giant biceps anytime soon.

After some internet research, I discovered one study that showed that Prednisone was found to produce no significant benefits when given to fibromyalgia patients. Bum! But I’ll still try it for the week!

But then, a Californian doctor had claimed that fibromyalgia can be treated by boosting stress hormone cortisol with low doses of hydrocortisone (Predinisone is about 4 times stronger than hydrocortisone). According to Dr Kent Holtorf, the treatment offers great health benefits with less risk, compared to other treatments for the condition.

Dr Holtorf believes that patients with fibromyalgia have low levels of steroid hormone cortisol, due to dysfunction in a brain system that regulates response to stress, known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Of 500 consecutive patients treated with the steroid at his clinic, Holtorf says 94% showed some improvement and 62% showed substantial improvement by the fourth visit.

William C. Reeves, director of the chronic viral diseases branch of the CDC, believes that most patients with fibromyalgia could benefit from taking low-dose hydrocortisone, but he says the treatment is not without risks. Some patients have experienced side effects especially those administered with higher steroid doses.

Anyone any clearer on whether this is going to help or not?