April 20, 2024

Acupuncture Shows Potential in Reducing Stroke Risk Among Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

A recent study published in BMJ Open suggests that acupuncture could potentially lower the heightened risk of stroke associated with rheumatoid arthritis. The researchers propose that acupuncture may decrease the levels of pro-inflammatory proteins in the body that are linked to cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, and they also have a higher likelihood of experiencing a stroke compared to the general population. In this study, researchers aimed to investigate if acupuncture, which is known for its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects, could potentially reduce the risk of ischemic stroke, which is caused by blood clots in the brain and is associated with systemic inflammation.

The study utilized national medical records from the Registry for Catastrophic Illness Patients Database and included data from 47,809 adults newly diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis between 1997 and 2010. The final analysis included 23,226 patients, 12,266 of whom received acupuncture treatment following their diagnosis.

The study found that those who received acupuncture treatment had a significantly lower risk of ischemic stroke compared to those who did not receive acupuncture treatment. These findings were independent of age, sex, medication use, and co-existing conditions. However, it is important to note that this is an observational study and the researchers were unable to establish cause and effect.

In terms of acupuncture treatment, most patients received manual acupuncture, while a smaller percentage received electroacupuncture or a combination of both. On average, patients received around 10 acupuncture treatments, with an average time lapse of 1,065 days from the rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis to the first acupuncture treatment.

While the study demonstrated promising results, there are certain limitations to consider. As an observational study, it cannot establish a definitive cause and effect relationship. Additionally, the researchers were only able to estimate disease severity based on the medications the patients took, and they did not have information on other potentially influential factors such as height, weight, lab tests, or physical activity levels.

In conclusion, the study suggests that acupuncture may have potential in reducing the risk of stroke among rheumatoid arthritis patients. By lowering pro-inflammatory proteins in the body, acupuncture could potentially decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases, including ischemic stroke. However, more research is needed to further explore the effectiveness and mechanisms behind these findings. Acupuncture could be considered as a complementary therapy to help manage the heightened stroke risk in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it