Higher A1C Levels in Diabetes Linked to Trigger Finger

The hand disorder known as trigger finger[1] is more common in people with diabetes who have a higher A1C level[2] (a measure of long-term blood glucose control), according to a new study published in the journal Diabetes Care[3].

As the study authors noted, diabetes is known to increase the risk for trigger finger[4] — a painful disorder in which a person’s fingers lock in a bent position. But it wasn’t previously known, for sure, whether good blood glucose control[5] reduces the risk for trigger finger — just as it reduces the risk for many different potential complications of diabetes[6]. Trigger finger develops when the protective membrane of the flexor muscles — which are engaged when you curl your fingers — becomes overgrown. Experts believe that this tissue becomes overgrown due to long-term exposure to elevated blood glucose levels, causing it to become glycated — meaning that bonds form between glucose and proteins in the tissue.

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For the latest study, researchers used data from the Swedish National Diabetes Register and the register of a region in southern Sweden, which included 9,682 adults with type 1 diabetes[8] and 85,755 adults with type 2 diabetes[9] between 2004 and 2019. The researchers were interested in looking at the relationship between A1C levels and cases of trigger finger, as documented in participants’ medical records. During the study period, there were a total of 757 documented case of trigger finger in people with type 1 diabetes, and 2,152 documented cases in people with type 2 diabetes.

When comparing cases of trigger finger with A1C levels, the researchers adjusted for several factors that could have increased the risk for either trigger finger or worse blood glucose control — including participants’ age, sex, diabetes duration, body-mass index[10] (BMI, a measure of body weight that takes height into account), and blood pressure[11]. After making these adjustments, they found that a pattern of elevated A1C was linked to a 26% higher risk for trigger finger in women with type 1 diabetes, and a 40% higher risk in men with type 1. It was also linked to a 14% higher risk for trigger finger in women with type 2 diabetes, and a 12% higher risk in men with type 2 diabetes.

The researchers concluded that higher long-term blood glucose levels are linked to a higher risk for trigger finger in both men and women with diabetes, with the highest risk seen in men with type 1 diabetes. “Optimal treatment of diabetes seems to be of importance for prevention of diabetic hand complications,” they wrote — although it’s unclear whether good blood glucose control can help improve trigger finger, or any other hand complication, once it develops. More research is needed to gain a better understanding of the relationship between blood glucose control and hand problems in people with diabetes.

Want to learn more about trigger finger? Read “Diabetes Hand Disorders: Pointing Out the Problems.”[12]

  1. trigger finger: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/diabetes-resources/definitions/trigger-finger/
  2. A1C level: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/education/getting-your-a1c-to-target/
  3. Diabetes Care: https://diabetesjournals.org/care/article-abstract/doi/10.2337/dc22-0829/147524/High-HbA1c-Levels-Are-Associated-With-Development
  4. trigger finger: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/education/diabetes-hand-disorders-pointing-out-the-problems/
  5. blood glucose control: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/managing-diabetes/blood-glucose-management/blood-sugar-chart/
  6. complications of diabetes: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/education/diabetes-complications/
  7. sign up for our free newsletters: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/newsletter/
  8. type 1 diabetes: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/diabetes-resources/definitions/type-1-diabetes/
  9. type 2 diabetes: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/diabetes-resources/definitions/type-2-diabetes/
  10. body-mass index: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/diabetes-resources/definitions/body-mass-index/
  11. blood pressure: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/education/treating-high-blood-pressure/
  12. “Diabetes Hand Disorders: Pointing Out the Problems.”: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/education/diabetes-hand-disorders-pointing-out-the-problems/

Source URL: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/news-research/2022/09/21/higher-a1c-levels-in-diabetes-linked-to-trigger-finger/

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