Dupuytren Contracture (cont.)

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What are the causes and risk factors of a Dupuytren's contracture?

The precise cause of a Dupuytren's contracture is not known. However, it is known that it occurs more frequently in patients with diabetes mellitus, seizure disorders (epilepsy), and alcoholism.

A Dupuytren's contracture can be inherited. In medical terms, the inherited form of a Dupuytren's contracture is transferred in the family as a so-called autosomal dominant trait with incomplete penetrance and partial sex-limitation. This means that the gene for a Dupuytren's contracture is not on an X or Y chromosome (sex chromosome) but on one of the other 44 chromosomes. Consequently, one version of the gene is enough to cause the disorder (it is dominant), but not everyone who has the gene has the disorder (the gene is not fully penetrant), and the disorder is most frequent in males (the gene expression is partially limited to males).

Typically, a Dupuytren's contractures occur in males over the age of 50.

What are the symptoms and signs of a Dupuytren's contracture?

A Dupuytren's contracture initially may cause only a minor painless lump in the palm of the hand near the base of the finger(s). A Dupuytren's contracture most commonly affects the ring (fourth) finger, but it can affect any finger. A Dupuytren's contracture can also affect one or both hands.

As a Dupuytren's contracture progresses, it can lead to an inability to fully extend the affected finger from the flexed position. This can result in a loss of normal grasping.

A Dupuytren's contracture is seldom associated with much, if any, pain unless the affected fingers are inadvertently forcefully hyperextended.


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