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441 US 130,

East Windsor, NJ 08520

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441 US 130,

East Windsor, NJ 08520

(609) 336-7518

09AM to 05PM EST

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Heart Failure: The Unexpected Connection

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is caused by compression of the median nerve in the wrist, which can lead to symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and pain in the hand and fingers.

Heart failure is a condition in which the heart cannot pump blood effectively. This can lead to a variety of symptoms, including shortness of breath, fatigue, and swelling in the hands and feet. 

While CTS and heart failure are two distinct conditions, there is a surprising connection between them. Amyloidosis, a rare disease that causes the buildup of abnormal proteins in the body, can affect both the heart and the nerves in the wrist.

In fact, a study published in the journal JAMA Network Open found that people with carpal tunnel syndrome are 39% more likely to develop heart failure within 10 years than people without CTS.

This is because amyloidosis can damage the heart muscle, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood effectively. It can also damage the nerves in the wrist, leading to CTS.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Heart Failure
So, if you have carpal tunnel syndrome, it is important to be aware of the potential risk of heart failure. If you experience any symptoms of heart failure, such as shortness of breath, fatigue, or swelling in the hands and feet, it is important to see a doctor right away.

What is Amyloidosis?

Amyloidosis is a rare disease that causes the buildup of abnormal proteins in the body. These proteins can form deposits in organs and tissues, leading to a variety of health problems. 

There are several different types of amyloidosis, each of which is caused by the buildup of a different type of protein. The type of amyloidosis that affects the heart is called transthyretin amyloidosis (ATTR amyloidosis). 

ATTR amyloidosis is caused by the buildup of a protein called transthyretin (TTR). TTR is a protein that is normally produced by the liver and helps to transport thyroid hormones throughout the body. However, in people with ATTR amyloidosis, TTR folds abnormally and forms deposits in the heart, nerves, and other organs. 

The Connection Between Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Heart Failure

As mentioned earlier, ATTR amyloidosis can affect both the heart and the nerves in the wrist. This is why people with carpal tunnel syndrome are at an increased risk of developing heart failure.

The amyloid deposits that form in the heart can damage the heart muscle, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood effectively. This can lead to heart failure.

The amyloid deposits that form in the nerves in the wrist can also cause CTS. This is because the amyloid deposits can compress the median nerve, which is the nerve that supplies feeling to the hand and fingers.
The Connection Between Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Heart Failure

Symptoms of Heart Failure

The symptoms of heart failure can vary from person to person. Some of the most common symptoms include: 

  • Shortness of breath 
  • Fatigue 
  • Swelling in the hands and feet 
  • Weight gain
  • Cough 
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness 
  • Chest pain 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Heart Failure
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor right away.

How Is Heart Failure Diagnosed?

There is no single test that can definitively diagnose heart failure. However, your doctor will likely order tests to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms and to confirm a diagnosis of heart failure. 

Some of the tests that your doctor may order include: 

  • Electrocardiogram (EKG): This test measures the electrical activity of your heart. 
  • Echocardiogram: This test uses sound waves to create images of your heart. 
  • Chest X-ray: This test can show changes in the size and shape of your heart that can be caused by heart failure.
  • Blood tests: These tests can check for signs of heart failure, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and low blood oxygen levels.
    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Heart Failure

Treatment for Heart Failure

The treatment for heart failure depends on the severity of your condition. In some cases, lifestyle changes such as losing weight, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly may be enough to manage your symptoms.

In other cases, you may need medication to help your heart pump more effectively. There are different medications that can be used to treat heart failure, including beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and diuretics. 

In some cases, you may also need surgery to treat heart failure. This may include surgery to repair a heart valve or to implant a pacemaker or defibrillator.

Key Takeaways

The connection between carpal tunnel syndrome and heart failure is a complex one. However, it is important to be aware of the potential risk of heart failure if you have carpal tunnel syndrome. If you experience any symptoms of heart failure, such as shortness of breath, fatigue, or swelling in the hands and feet, it is important to see a doctor right away. 

Here are some additional things to keep in mind: 

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome and heart failure are two distinct conditions, but they can be caused by the same underlying disease, amyloidosis. 
  • People with carpal tunnel syndrome are at an increased risk of developing heart failure. 
  • The symptoms of heart failure can vary from person to person, but some of the most common symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling in the hands and feet, weight gain, cough, lightheadedness or dizziness, and chest pain. 
  • There is no single test that can definitively diagnose heart failure, but your doctor will likely order a few tests to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms and to confirm a diagnosis of heart failure. 
  • The treatment for heart failure depends on the severity of your condition. In some cases, lifestyle changes such as losing weight, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly may be enough to manage your symptoms. In other cases, you may need medication to help your heart pump more effectively or surgery to repair a heart valve or to implant a pacemaker or defibrillator. 

Schedule an appointment with a doctor at Prime Health of New Jersey today to learn more about carpal tunnel syndrome and heart failure. 


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Our Team

Dr. Farhan Malik Primary Care Physician
Dr. Shoaib Malik Primary Care Physician

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