On the Severity of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Diabetes or Metabolic Syndrome

J Clin Neurol. 2015 Jul;11(3):234-40. doi: 10.3988/jcn.2015.11.3.234.


Background and purpose: Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most common entrapment neuropathy. Although its etiology is unknown, certain conditions are commonly associated with CTS, such as obesity, arthritis, hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus, trauma, mass lesions, amyloidosis, and sarcoidosis. We aimed to determine the association between metabolic syndrome and CTS, and we compared the severity of CTS between patients with diabetes (and no concomitant metabolic syndrome) and patients with metabolic syndrome.

Methods: Two hundred patients with a clinically and electrophysiological confirmed diagnosis of CTS were included in the study. Their demographic characteristics and severity of CTS were analyzed according to the presence or the absence of metabolic syndrome. Differences in the electrophysiological findings were evaluated between the following four groups: 1) metabolic syndrome alone (n=52), 2) diabetes alone (n=20), 3) combined metabolic syndrome and diabetes (n=44), and 4) no metabolic syndrome or diabetes (n=84).

Results: CTS was more severe in the patients with metabolic syndrome than those without this syndrome. The electrophysiological findings were worse in patients with metabolic syndrome alone than in those with diabetes alone and those without diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Conclusions: CTS appears to be more severe in patients with metabolic syndrome than patients with diabetes. Diabetes is one of the well-known risk factors for CTS, but other components of metabolic syndrome may have a greater effect on the severity of CTS.

Keywords: carpal tunnel; diabetes; electrophysiology; metabolic syndrome; obesity; severity.