The carpal tunnel is found in the wrist. In carpal tunnel syndrome, a nerve
in the carpal tunnel becomes pinched due to swelling of the nerve and/or nearby
The pinched nerve can cause
numbness, tingling, and sometimes pain in the fingers, hand, and forearm.
It's well known that people with diabetes are more likely to get carpal
tunnel syndrome. But researchers wanted to find out if the risk actually goes
up before diabetes develops -- when a person has pre-diabetes.
In pre-diabetes, fasting blood sugar is 100 to
125 mg/dL. Diabetes develops once the fasting blood sugar reaches 126.
So, researchers, including Martin Gulliford, FRCP, of King's College in
London, looked at 2,655 patients with pre-diabetes who later went on to develop
diabetes. They were compared with nearly 5,300 people without the disease.
Next, Gulliford's team scrolled back through nearly nine years of the
patients' medical records.
The researchers found that people who had been diagnosed with carpal tunnel
syndrome were 36% more likely to later be diagnosed with diabetes, regardless
of other diabetes risk factors.
That finding appears in the latest issue of Diabetes Care.
The study doesn't prove carpal tunnel syndrome causes diabetes.
Only 82 patients in the study had been diagnosed with carpal tunnel
syndrome. That number may be too small to draw firm conclusions, the
But nerve problems are associated with diabetes, Gulliford's team says.
If the study's finding is correct, it may show that high blood sugar and
other metabolic abnormalities can start affecting the body years before
diabetes is diagnosed.