The use of a smartphone leads to this condition. This may even result in heart failure

The use of a smartphone leads to this condition.  This may even result in heart failure

What could wrist pain have to do with heart failure? More than we think, say scientists from Kiel. This is very important information for people who work a lot at the computer and always have their smartphone. It is in this group that carpal tunnel syndrome often occurs.

Heart failure is a disease that affects up to 1.2 million Poles. It appears in younger and younger people, which worries cardiologists. What is even more disturbing is that this disease is responsible for 20 percent of deaths in our country. German scientists have no doubt that people suffering from another condition – carpal tunnel syndrome – are at risk of heart failure.

Heart failure – what are its causes?

Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. It is a chronic disease that affects even very active people in their prime. Its causes include, among others: heart attacks, cardiac arrhythmias, but also hypertension, alcohol abuse and life under stress. Due to the fact that heart failure literally kills more and more people around the world, scientists from Christian Albrecht University in Kiel decided to take a closer look at this disease. For 15 years, from 2005 to 2020, they followed the fate of over 160,000 patients. Researchers obtained their results from 1,200 practices in Germany. The average age of the subjects was 53 years, and two thirds of the patients were women. All subjects suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome. Why was this group chosen?

What does the wrist have to do with the heart?

Scientists presented the results of their research in the medical journal “JAMA Network”. They show that the cause-and-effect relationship between carpal tunnel syndrome and the increased risk of heart failure actually exists and is quite significant. 8.4% of patients with carpal tunnel syndrome were diagnosed with heart failure within 10 years of diagnosis. What is this relationship? It is thought to be caused by the accumulation of transthyretin amyloid deposits in the wrist. Amyloid is a harmful protein that accumulates in the body as a result of a pathogenic process. Transthyretin is also a protein produced in the liver and brain. Carpal tunnel symptoms, according to scientists, are a harbinger of amyloidosis (a heart disease that leads to heart muscle hypertrophy), which may ultimately lead to the failure of this organ.

Mark Luedde, the first author of the report, said that establishing this relationship is very important because carpal tunnel syndrome can become “screening tool”. In his opinion, hand surgeons, but even general practitioners, who see a patient with this condition should consider that he may be at risk of heart failure and refer him for specialist tests. Meanwhile, in practice – according to Luedde – doctors rarely took this relationship into account. The analysis showed that people with carpal tunnel syndrome waited a very long time for the diagnosis of insufficiency.

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is said to be a disease of the 21st century, diagnosed mainly among people who work a lot at the computer. More and more often, the disease is a consequence of long-term use of smartphones, because this disease results from compression of the nerve located in the carpal tunnel. It also applies to people who suffer from chronic diseases (e.g. hypothyroidism, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis), but also to athletes (e.g. tennis players). It may be the result of a hand injury. It usually manifests itself by swelling, swelling around the wrist, tingling in the fingers, and pain in the fingers (not only when clicking on the keyboard or using the phone, but also when simply moving the hand). Both the thumb, ring finger and index finger may hurt. Sometimes the pain is so severe that it wakes the patient from sleep, usually when it radiates from the wrist to the shoulder.

How to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome?

In the 21st century, it is rare to completely avoid using a telephone or computer, but it is worth remembering a few rules that will help us avoid the occurrence of carpal tunnel syndrome. When typing on the keyboard, it is worth using special mouse pads that stabilize the wrist. Experts advise avoiding writing in the so-called air, without support. Breaks while working at a computer will be beneficial for your wrists – the same applies to using smartphones. It is worth paying special attention to children and teenagers whose limbs are still developing. It is a healthy habit to exercise your wrists regularly to improve their blood circulation. People with joint problems should follow a diet rich in vitamin B6.

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