Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand FAQ

Question:

I have a hand condition called Dupuytren's disease. I saw a report that said it might be genetic. What difference does that make? Either you have it or you don't, right?

Answer:

It's always helpful to know what causes a disease. Scientists can work to find ways to prevent it. If there's a known genetic link then anyone with a family history of Dupuytren’s can watch for early tell tale signs of it. Earlier treatment may be able to prevent serious complications.

According to a recent study from Finland a positive family history of Dupuytren's increases your risk of getting the disease. Not only that but the condition develops at an earlier age. It tends to be more severe and affect more fingers in those with a positive family history.

In cases like this, instead of taking a wait-and-see approach, surgery may be advised. For more futuristic thinkers...if you knew you had a family history of Dupuytren's and scientists knew which gene transfers the problem, then to avoid this potentially disabling condition a person could have a gene transfer. The defective gene would be removed and a normal gene put in its place. This could prevent the problem from ever occurring in the first place.

Sandip Hindocha, MBChB, et al. The Heritability of Dupuytren's Disease: Familial Aggregation and Its Clinical Significance. In The Journal of Hand Surgery. February 2006. Vol. 31A. No. 2. Pp. 204-210.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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