Ultrasound On Arms Of Diabetes Patients Lowers Blood Pressure

20 minutes of ultrasound applied to the arms of diabetes patients who also had hypertension helped to reduce the patients’ blood pressure, according to a study.

AsianScientist (Aug. 2, 2016) – 20 minutes of ultrasound applied to the arms of type II diabetes patients who also had hypertension helped to reduce the patients’ blood pressure, according to a study in Japan published in the International Journal of Cardiology.

High blood pressure is estimated to cause 7.5 million deaths worldwide and can be difficult to control in some patients with Type II diabetes. In the present study, Dr. Katsunori Nonogaki of Tohoku University’s Department of Diabetes Technology and colleagues studied 212 Type II diabetes patients with treatment-resistant hypertension. These patients were divided into four groups.

One group received 20 minutes of low-frequency (800 kHz), low-intensity ultrasound irradiation to the forearm. Another received 500 kHz of low-intensity irradiation for 20 minutes. The final two groups were used as controls, receiving a placebo procedure.

The researchers found that the patients’ blood pressure and pulse rates were significantly reduced after both 800 kHz and 500 kHz irradiation sessions, as compared to pre-treatment levels. Blood pressure levels were also lower than those of the placebo groups, but significantly so in the case of the 500 kHz treatment. No adverse effects were found in either group as a result of the ultrasound treatment.

How ultrasound improves blood pressure in these patients is still unclear, but it might suppress sympathetic nerve activity by means of nerve pathways from the forearm to the cardiovascular system, the researchers say. This nerve activity is responsible for the fight-or-flight response.

“We do not have specific treatments for resistant hypertension. The cost of anti-hypertensive agents for patients is high,” noted Nonogaki. “Ultrasound has the advantage of being cheap and non-invasive.”

The researchers have developed a commercial version of the ultrasound device, which they named NeuroHealer. Nonogaki is currently looking for international business partners to take the device into commercial use.

The article can be found at: Nonogaki et al. (2016) Low-Frequency and Very Low-Intensity Ultrasound Decreases Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Subjects with Type 2 Diabetes.


Source: Tohoku University; Photo: Shutterstock.
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