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Complement Med Res. 2018;25(1):45-51. doi: 10.1159/000475930. Epub 2018 Jan 23.

Regulation of Hypertension for Secondary Prevention of Stroke: The Possible 'Bridging Function' of Acupuncture.


Worldwide, stroke is the leading cause of mortality and disability, with hypertension being an independent risk factor for a secondary stroke. Acupuncture for the treatment of hypertension gains more attention in alternative and complementary medicine, but the results are inconsistent. Few studies regarding the secondary prevention of stroke by managing hypertension with acupuncture have been carried out as there are some problems regarding the antihypertensive drug status in the secondary prevention of stroke. Still, the potential of acupuncture in regulating the blood pressure for secondary stroke prevention deserves our focus. This review is based on papers recorded in the PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science databases, from their inception until March 28, 2017, and retrieved with the following search terms: hypertension and acupuncture, limited in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs), stress-induced (or cold-induced) hypertensive or pre-hypertensive models. We find that, in these hypertensive animals, acupuncture could mainly influence factors related to the nervous system, oxidative stress, the endocrine system, cardiovascular function, and hemorheology, which are closely associated with the stroke outcome. This trend may give us a hint that acupuncture might well participate in the secondary prevention of stroke through these pathways when used in the management of hypertension.


Acupuncture; Hypertension; Nervous system; Oxidative stress; Secondary prevention of stroke; Stroke

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