Obesity

Is There a Relationship Between Obesity and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a type of nerve condition that occurs in the area of the wrist and for some can be debilitating and painful.  The carpal tunnel is a narrow and rigid passage of bones and ligament present at the base of the hand. It contains the median nerve, which is involved with the sensation and movement of fingers and thumb. The syndrome and its symptoms arise when this nerve gets squeezed or pressed at the wrist. Sometimes no cause can be attributed to this painful progressive condition.  However some causes of carpal tunnel may include rheumatoid arthritis, repetitive movements or work that cause inflammation of the tendon in the wrist, wrist joint injury or trauma, sports, playing an musical instrument frequently, fluid retention during menopause or pregnancy, formation of a tumor in the site, diabetes and hypothyroidism.

 

According to researchers at Gaziosmanpasa University in Turkey, obesity is correlated with a higher risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms.  However results have shown that obesity is not a cause of carpel tunnel syndrome.  They have also found that for obese people who suffer with carpal tunnel syndrome, weight loss did not bring any relief to symptoms.  As per the statistics, 10 percent of the general public is at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome while 25 percent of obese people are found to suffer with this nerve condition.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms:

  • Burning feeling in the fingers
  • Numbness or tingling in fingers
  • Numbness or tingling in the palms
  • Pain extending to the elbow
  • Feeling of the fingers being swollen though there are no apparent signs
  • Inability to differentiate between hot and cold
  • Abnormal sensations in the fingers
  • Hand/finger numbness and/or weakness
  • Difficulty making a fist
  • Difficulty gripping, especially small things
  • Wasting of the base of the muscles under the thumb (long-term)

Unfortunately even though statistically it has shown that obese people have a higher incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome then the general public, the link between the two has not yet been identified.  At this time a genetic link leading to a predisposition for acquiring both of these conditions cannot be ruled out.

References

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Linked To Obesity And Hand Proportions:
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/74728.php

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001469/

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Fact Sheet: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/carpal_tunnel/detail_carpal_tunnel.htm

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