Rheumatoid arthritis and Sjögren's syndrome linked to higher risk of carpal tunnel syndrome

Rheumatoid arthritis Sjögren's syndrome linked to  carpal tunnel syndrome

Newswise - People with two autoimmune diseases, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and Sjögren’s syndrome, are at an increased risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), and should be screened for CTS and made aware of this risk, according to a new study presented this week at the Association of Academic Physiatrists Annual Meeting in Puerto Rico.

The relationship between CTS and autoimmune diseases is still unclear. Although RA is a known risk factor for developing CTS, physicians still do not know its exact role. CTS involves compression of the median nerve through the wrist at the carpal tunnel, and its symptoms include pain, tingling, and numbness in the fingers. To find out more about the relationship between CTS and common autoimmune diseases, researchers at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation conducted a cohort study focusing on autoimmune rheumatic disease (ARD) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients.
“Patients with autoimmune diseases may be considered with variable conditions, including the involvement of peripheral nerve system. Yet, there were only suspicions regarding ARD/IBD and CTS due to lack of large-scale cohort study to verify. This study provides the epidemiological evidence to support the correlation. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a disease that may affect health-related quality of life. Early diagnosis when managing patients with RA and Sjögren’s syndrome with adequate early health education and treatment could decrease the influence of CTS,” said Po-Cheng Hsu, MD, the study’s co-author.
The study’s findings suggest that people with Sjögren’s disease and RA have an increased risk of CTS compared to the general population, and screening for CTS in patients with these autoimmune diseases may be warranted.

“These findings provide information that clinical practitioners and patients may keep in mind: the classical symptoms of (numbness, tingling and paresthesia may be related to CTS,” said Dr. Hsu.

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