Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Who's at Risk for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?Women are three times more likely than men to get carpal tunnel syndrome. For both men and women, the risk increases as they age.
Several other groups of people are at increased risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome. For example, people who perform assembly-line work -- manufacturing; sewing; finishing; cleaning; and meat, poultry, or fish packing -- are at increased risk. In fact, carpal tunnel syndrome is three times more common among assemblers than among data-entry personnel. People who use vibrating hand tools, such as jackhammers or chainsaws, are also at increased risk.
Other risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- Trauma or injury to the wrist that causes swelling, such as sprain or fracture
- Certain medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus)
- Hormonal changes, such as with pregnancy or menopause
- Alcohol abuse
- Obesity (see BMI Calculator to find your ideal weight).
(Click Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome to learn about other risk factors.)
SymptomsSymptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome usually start gradually, with pain, tingling, weakness, or numbness in one or both hands radiating up the arm. These symptoms usually begin at night.
As symptoms worsen, people might feel tingling during the day, and decreased grip strength may make it difficult to form a fist, tie shoes, pick up small objects, or perform other manual tasks.
(Click Carpal Tunnel Symptoms for more information.)