Carpal tunnel syndrome may be an early warning sign of diabetes

November 20, 2012

Diabetes, Health, Health Concerns

Research has shown that people with diabetes are more likely to contract carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful, progressive condition caused by compression of a key nerve in the wrist. It occurs when the pinching of a swollen nerve and/or nearby tendons causes numbness, tingling and occasionally pain in the fingers, hand and forearm.

Research has shown that people with diabetes are more likely to contract carpal tunnel syndrome. Recently, researchers wanted to determine if the risk actually increases before diabetes develops or in a pre-diabetic person. In pre-diabetes, fasting blood sugar is from 100 to 125 mg/dL. Diabetes is believed to have developed once the fasting blood sugar level reaches 126.

Researchers at King’s College in London, including Martin Gulliford, FRCP, studied 2,655 patients with pre-diabetes who later went on to develop diabetes. These were compared with nearly 5,300 people without the disease. When researchers examined nearly nine years of the patients’ medical records, they found that those who had been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome were 36 percent more likely to develop diabetes, regardless of other diabetes risk factors.

Researchers noted, however, that only 82 patients in the study had been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, a number too small to offer any firm conclusions. But, nerve problems are associated with diabetes, Gulliford’s team says.

If the findings of the study are correct, they may indicate that high blood sugar and other metabolic abnormalities can begin affecting the body years before a diabetes diagnosis.

 

Source: Gulliford, M., Diabetes Care, August 2006; vol 29: pp 1929-1930. 

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 5, October/November 2006.

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