The title is a little scary, but it’s a question that many sufferers of the disease have on their minds but are too afraid to ask.
We know that Dupuytren’s contracture is caused by the rapid shortening or tightening of the skin. It usually occurs in the palm and may affect two or more fingers, depending on the severity. But, can it kill you?
We’ll find out in this article.
Since Dupuytren’s affects the fingers and hands, it can disrupt a number of everyday activities. These include lifting, gripping, stretching, and sometimes even the most simple actions such as shaking hands with someone.
Many people compare it to the feeling of being crippled. It often starts as a tiny pull but can progress into the complete immobility of some or all of the fingers.
Amongst the problems caused by Dupuytren’s is feeling a constant pull around the fingers. This can cause a certain amount of discomfort for people affected by the disease.
These problems may be serious, but they do not affect internal organs. Hence the disease isn’t considered deadly.
Although the tightening of the skin or the formation of a lump in the palm may be alarming, most people experience no pain at all.
The progression of Dupuytren’s varies from patient to patient. But, most of the time it is slow. It may take years for a person to even realize a change in their finger movement.
However, an upside to this disease is that for most people, it is completely painless. The lump may be sensitive to touch or feel, but otherwise it does not cause problems for the patient.
Dupuytren’s Contracture is a disease that is mostly harmless. Researches have shown that people with Dupuytren’s often go on to live without any trouble.
However, detailed research lasting almost 15-years revealed that people with stage two of Dupuytren’s have an increased risk of early mortality.
The second stage of Dupuytren’s, also known as the ‘Involutional Stage’ occurs when a network of myofibroblasts begins to form. This causes the ‘pull’ on the fingers to become firmer, thus leading to increased immobility.
The Involutional Stage is often associated with the risk of cancer deaths. The collected data further made a connection between mortality as a result of cancer and those with Dupuytren’s contracture. Furthermore, men had a higher mortality rate compared to women.
In addition to the cancer risks, people with this disease have a higher risk of developing numerous life-changing diseases or conditions. Such conditions include psoriasis, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, and even mental health issues such as depression.
Although numerous research studies link higher mortality rates with Dupuytren’s, this data may be inconclusive. Most doctors say that enough research has not been done on this specific disease to give reliable facts.