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Preventing Hand Problems in Diabetics!

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According to an article published in the journal Diabetes and Metabolism in July 2011, hand problems should be a concern in anyone diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Researchers in the Departments of Endocrinology and Medicine, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India, looked at:

  • Dupuytrens's contracture,
  • limited joint mobility, and
  • the carpel tunnel syndrome

in Type 2 diabetics, compared with non-diabetic participants.

Two hundred and six volunteers with Type 2 diabetes and 203 healthy volunteers were included in the study. Dupuytren's contracture, limited joint mobility, and carpel tunnel syndrome were found in significantly more hands belonging to diabetic volunteers than those belonging to healthy participants. The disorders were most common in the oldest patients and those who had Type 2 diabetes the longest.

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The results were consistent with earlier research. Studies in the 1990's showed people with Type 2 diabetes had a high risk of problems causing hand stiffness. In July of 2001 Clinical Diabetes, the journal of the American Diabetes Association, published an article on abnormal proteins and small vessel disease, and limited range of motion in diabetes.

Dupuytren's contracture is:

  • a painless condition that can make the fingers unable to straighten.
  • it most often affects the ring finger and pinky, and afflicts people over 40 and men more often than younger people and women.

It develops gradually, over a period of years or decades, and does not appear to be related to occupation or injury. Masses of hardened tissue grow to form bands in the fascia, a structure under the skin of the hands. The bands hold the fingers in a permanently contracted position, or contracture.

Physical therapy and warm baths can be helpful. In more severe cases the fingers can be released surgically or a substance called collagenase can be used to break down a protein called collagen, which forms the hardened bands.

Limited joint mobility also causes stiffness of the hand and other joints. The skin is described as tight, thick and waxy. One sign of the condition is the "prayer sign," in which patients are asked to put the palms of the hands together. If the fingers are:

  • unable to touch along their entire lengths,
  • limited joint mobility is probable.joints in the shoulders, hips, and feet can also be affected.

Physical therapy can be helpful.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by pressure on a nerve in the wrist, causing:

  • pain,numbness,
  • tingling,
  • weakness, and
  • muscle damage.

Surgery and anti-inflammatory drugs such as cortisone and ibuprofen are used to treat the condition.

Keeping your blood sugars under control is recommended for all the above conditions, so follow a plan of regular exercise, a healthy diet, and a medication regimen if needed.

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