August 18, 2006

Carpal tunnel may be sign of impending diabetes

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - In more cases than would
normally be expected, people who develop type 2 diabetes have a
history of carpal tunnel syndrome. The wrist nerve problem
sometimes predates the onset of diabetes by up to 10 years,
according to a UK study.

Led by Dr. Martin C. Gulliford, a team at King's College in
London examined medical records for 644,495 patients in England
and Wales. They identified 2647 patients diagnosed with
diabetes between November 2003 and October 2004, and selected a
comparison group of 5,294 "control" subjects matched for age,
gender, and location.

Medical records for up to 10 years before diabetes was
diagnosed were reviewed for the first occurrences of carpal
tunnel syndrome. Also, according to their report in the medical
journal Diabetes Care, the researchers identified subjects
diagnosed with Bell's facial palsy, a nerve disorder causing
temporary paralysis of facial muscles.

Results showed that, after accounting for other risk
factors, the pre-diabetes group was 36 percent more likely to
have had carpal tunnel syndrome in the past than the control

Similarly, Bell's facial palsy occurred more often in the
pre-diabetes group than in the control, but this turned out to
be not significant from a statistical standpoint.

Gulliford and his team suggest that high blood sugar levels
"and associated metabolic abnormalities may contribute to
causing these important focal peripheral nerve disorders before
the diagnosis of diabetes."

SOURCE: Diabetes Care, August 2006.