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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anna Lunaria, Doctor of Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine

Acupuncture and PreDiabetes/Diabetes

Prediabetes and Diabetes Type 2 presents a significant challenge to the health of our nation and the world. @ Yin Rising Acupuncture, we’re happy to share that Acupuncture can help you! ElectroAcupuncture has been found to naturally lower blood glucose and increase insulin receptivity.

More than 1 in 3 Americans have prediabetes (PD), and yet more than 80% of them do not know it! Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes are different: Type 1 occurs when the pancreas does not make enough insulin. This often occurs in childhood and is considered an autoimmune disease. Type 2 occurs when the pancreas isn’t making enough insulin or when the body becomes resistant to insulin (insulin resistance). Insulin allows sugar in the blood to penetrate cell walls to be used for energy. When blood sugar enters cells, this signals insulin to decrease. Some research is beginning to point towards Type 2 also being an autoimmune condition.

PD develops from an over consumption of sugar, alcohol, simple carbohydrates or excess calories (of any source: fat, protein or carbs) along with a chronic stress, sedentary lifestyle. Modern living unfortunately creates unhealthy conditions.

After an initial diagnosis of PD, there is a 2-6 year window to reverse and prevent diabetes. PD can be prevented from turning into diabetes with lifestyle changes, such as changing diet, increasing exercise, reducing stress, eliminating smoking/vaping (both tobacco and cannabis) and abstain from alcohol. Studies show that resistance exercise is just as important as cardio to manage blood sugar. Working out in the afternoon and early evening are better at controlling blood sugar than morning exercise. Skipping breakfast or a high carb, low protein breakfast also makes it harder to stabilize blood sugar the rest of the day, even if you eat ‘perfectly’ and exercise. So your morning meal is essential and ideally should occur within 30 minutes of waking!* It may take months or even several years of consistent lifestyle changes before reversing the course of this disease, so it requires sustained effort.

With most cases going undiagnosed or poorly managed, we are missing a huge opportunity to prevent the progression into diabetes. To detect PD, ask your MD to order a Hemoglobin A1C (HGAIC) test, alternatively you can order the blood work yourself**. HGAIC is a better indicator than fasting glucose for PD. By the time your fasting glucose is high, it might be too late to reverse the disease. HGAIC measure an average of how many sugar molecules are attached the hemoglobin (the protein in a red blood cell that carries oxygen) over a 90 day period. More glucose in your blood means more inflammation. HGAIC is being underutilized by physicians, often because insurance companies will deny reimbursement for it until you’ve actually been diagnosed with diabetes. Fortunately, you can make better health care decisions for yourself than the bean counters sitting in an insurance office. In the state of Arizona (and many other states) you can order your own lab tests and pay out of pocket for HGAIC $21.**

PD may have no symptoms. But risk factors include being overweight (although thin people can also develop PD), large waist size, sedentary lifestyle, a history of smoking, being over 45 years old, family history, race/ethnicity. Symptoms might include insomnia or disrupted sleep, increased thirst (inability to be quenched), frequent urination. increasing hunger, fatigue, blurred vision, numbness/tingling in hands/feet, darkening velvety patches of skin, especially at skin folds, skin tags, inflammatory skin rashes, such as eczema, psoriasis, lichen planus, itchy skin, frequent sties, boils, carbuncles, excessive sweating at the head/face, frequent infections, slow healing wounds, unintended weight loss. Other correlated risks: high triglycerides, high “bad” cholesterol (HDL) and high blood pressure, low levels of “good” cholesterol (LDL). PD can cause long term damage to your health even before progressing to diabetes. It can lead to heart damage, it can cause ‘silent’ heart attacks, blood vessel inflammation and kidney disease.

Diabetes is the costliest disease in health care because as it leads to so many other diseases. It is directly linked to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, fatty liver disease, eye disease and loss of vision and amputations.

It’s estimated that 70% of those diagnosed with PD will go on to develop diabetes, so less than 30% are successful in making and sticking to lifestyle changes. According to the World Health Organization, in 1980 there were 108 million people with diabetes and in 2014, this number rose to 422 million. Only about 22% of diabetics are successfully managing their blood sugar. Our mainstream medical-insurance system, food system and built environment that favors cars over walking and biking all contribute to the epidemic of PD.

Challenge: an overwhelming amount of people suffer from PD and Diabetes. And unfortunately most are not able to successfully manage their symptoms with sustained lifestyle changes and medications. Clearly, many people need additional support and intervention.

Solution: Acupuncture, particularly ElectroAcupuncture, has been shown to help improve insulin sensitivity. EA also helps reverse PD by modulating the immune system to reduce the inflammatory response. EA has also been found to help manage Diabetes by altering gut microflora. Studies also indicate that EA with medication (Metformin) manage blood glucose better than medication alone for Diabetics. Specific points and specific EA frequencies have been found to be more effective than others. It’s important to look for an Acupuncture practitioner who had read the research and integrates it into their clinical practice. Share this article with your Acupuncture practitioner! In addition, to EA, your Acupuncture practitioner will recommend herbal remedies and supplements that can help your body improve insulin receptivity. Acupuncture practitioners also have specialized training and the time to help coach patients to make and sustain health lifestyle changes.

  • In Acupuncture theory, each Organ has a time within in circadian rhythm when it function should be nourished. The Stomach is paired with the Spleen and the Pancreas. The Pancreas is the organ that is physiologically impaired in PD and Diabetes. Stomach time is 7 am - 9 am. This is the ideal time to start the digestive process for optimal metabolism. Skipping breakfast/intermittent fasting at this time leads to higher blood sugar over the rest of the day.

  • * You can order your own HGA1C via

Make an appointment with Dr. Anna Lunaria @ Yin Rising Acupuncture today to help you manage Diabetes or manage and reverse PD. Acupuncture is truly preventative medicine. Harness to power of this 3,000 year old medicine and feel better naturally!


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