Carpal Tunnel and Diabetes

Experts believe that Carpal tunnel and diabetes have a general connection and that carpal tunnel syndrome may be a good indication for a forthcoming diabetes mellitus. But before we delve into the connection between carpal tunnel syndrome and diabetes mellitus, let us first discuss carpal tunnel syndrome first.

Ask anyone suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome and theyíre bound to tell you that itís no laughing matter. Carpal tunnel syndrome afflicts one percent of the general population around the world but the percentage climbs higher at five percent for working people whose jobs include recurring motions involving the hands and the wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome is considered as damage to the median nerve that usually runs through the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is the space found between the band of fibrous tissue encircling the wrist and the joint bone. Any condition that may cause the carpal tunnel to become altered in position or to be inflamed may lead to the irritation of the median nerve.

Once the median nerve gets irritated or compressed due to these carpal tunnel changes, the carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms manifest. These symptoms include a slight tingling and numbing sensation along the palms of the hands and fingers, specifically the thumb, the index finger and up to the ring finger. You may also feel pain shooting from your hands towards your elbows and your upper arms up to your shoulders and your neck. There may also be the presence of muscle weakness and atrophied muscles in more progressive cases. There are numerous causes that may lead to an inflamed or modified carpal tunnel. These include obesity, diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, leukemia, multiple myeloma, amyloidosis, injury or trauma to the wrist area, pregnancy and excessive use of growth hormones and estrogen.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome was a common disease in the past but it wasnít until after World War II that the syndrome got increasingly popular. Those who have been afflicted with CTS were written about in numerous literatures in the middle of the 19th century. Sir James Paget was the first to state about the presence of compressed median nerve at the wrist area after a distal radius fracture in the year 1854. In the early 20th century, cases surrounding median nerve compression located underneath the transverse carpal ligament emerged. Although carpal tunnel syndrome is a common topic in medical literature, it wasnít until the year 1939 that the term was coined. A physician in Cleveland Clinic named Dr. George S. Phalen was the one who reviewed and determined the syndromeís pathology after studying with patients in the 1950s up to the 1960s.

Typically, diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome is a hard battle as there are no definitive tests that can diagnose the syndrome in one go. Nevertheless, the physician can make use of various examinations available to finally diagnose CTS. For starters, the physician will take the patientís complaint into account. The physician will then examine the fingers, the hands, the arms, the neck and the shoulders to rule out any other diseases that may be causing the symptoms. There are other tests as well, including the Phalenís maneuver, the Tinelís sign and the Durkanís test, which can be used to help diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome. Nevertheless, out of all the tests, the electromyelogram (ECT) is probably the closest to being definitive. It is a test that measures the rate of speed of the electrical impulses sent by the brain towards the muscles of the extremities and the muscles to the brain. In a person suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, the impulses become dramatically slower. Alongside with this result and the initial complaint of the patient, the doctor will most likely diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome.

The Connection Between Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Diabetes

Carpal Tunnel and diabetes mellitus carry a heavy connection between themselves. Studies show that people with diabetes are more likely to be afflicted with carpal tunnel syndrome compared to those who are free from diabetes. However, it may be difficult for doctors to pinpoint the presence of carpal tunnel syndrome in people with diabetes because the common symptoms of CTS are also the common symptoms found in diabetic neuropathy. It may also be the other way around. In fact, statistics have proven that people suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome are also 36% more likely to acquire diabetes mellitus. This connection between carpal tunnel and diabetes are blamed on the fact that diabetes can cause swelling and may also cause interference in the circulation of the hands, which may veritably cause the carpal tunnel to swell or change in position. When this occurs, the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome will also be felt.

Carpal tunnel and diabetes are both discomfiting diseases on their own. Put together, they are forces to reckon with in the field of health. Fortunately, there are now increasing interventions used by the field of medicine to treat ease the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and diabetes mellitus.