Frozen shoulder is a painful restriction of shoulder movement. It affects 11 to 30% of people with diabetes, as opposed to 2 to 10% of people who dont have diabetes. Frozen shoulder is also known as adhesive capsulitis, shoulder periarthritis, or obliterative bursitis. The capsule of a shoulder joint includes the ligaments that attach the shoulder bones to each other. When inflammation occurs within the capsule, the shoulder bones are unable to freely move within the joint.
The main symptom of frozen shoulder is pain and, as result, stiffness sets in. Over time and/or with treatment, mobility can slowly return. Treatment often includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), steroid injections, and physical therapy. People with diabetes who are treated with steroid injections may experience increased blood sugar levels over 24 to 48 hours after receiving the injection.
In people without diabetes, frozen shoulder can present itself about the age of 50. For people with diabetes, this condition can occur in those as young as 40, sometimes younger. While frozen shoulder is usually less painful for those who are afflicted at a younger age, treatment may not be as effective and the condition may last a longer time. Tight control over blood sugar levels helps in the prevention of frozen shoulder.
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Because I wear my Dexcom on my arm, I’ve slowly adjusted to the fact that people will ask me about it. Sometimes it’s the rude and inquisitive “What’s that?” and sometimes it’s somewhat sincere curiosity “Is that a (insert random type of medical device that they assume)?” Sometimes it bothers me more than others depending on how they ask and how they respond once I’ve told them what it is. I have limits to how much myth-busting I want to do in everyday conversation and how much rudeness I can...