Monday, August 13, 2012

The Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Diabetes Connection

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a medical condition that affects many people. It is typically associated with people who use computers a lot and are required to do extensive typing for long periods of time. But what many people are not aware of, is that it is also much more common in individuals who have Type 2 diabetes.
The carpal tunnel area of the wrist is, as the name implies, a tunnel for many different components, including nerves and ligaments, to run through. In fact, the carpal tunnel itself is surrounded by a band of ligaments. Running through the middle of the carpal tunnel is the median nerve.
When an individual subjects their hands to repetitive motions such as typing on a computer, they risk causing aggravation to this area. The movements can cause the ligaments to become irritated or thickened. This thickening then compresses onto the median nerve. Unfortunately, the same effect can be created by an abnormal increase in collagen caused by high blood sugar levels.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include a tingling sensation usually in the right hand. It generally affects the thumb, index, middle and ring fingers. However, there are some instances where the small finger will also be affected. There is also some numbness of these fingers associated with this problem.
Sometimes, the effects will resonate into the wrist, forearm and even make its way all the way back into the elbow.
Changes in collagen levels and nerves occur mostly at night, which could interrupt your sleeping. It will also help to start your day out with pain.
If you are thinking you may have carpal tunnel syndrome, your doctor can perform a simple test to determine if you do actually have it. By placing your hands together in a praying position, your doctor will be able to determine if you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome simply by the way your hands fit together. They can also check for muscle weakness, which is also a sign of the condition. If the diagnosis is still in question, they can also order a nerve conduction test.
Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome involves limited repetitive movement which would aggravate the median nerve. Your doctor might advise you to wear a splint which covers your wrist and the top of your forearm to limit movement and keep the area in a neutral position. Keeping your wrist straight takes unnecessary pressure off of the wrist and reduces inflammation. Sometimes, a steroid injection into the area might become necessary.

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