Numbness in Hands and Feet
Numbness in hands and feet can be caused due to a number of reasons and are considered as important symptoms of certain disorders, especially neurological disorders. Read on to know more...
You must have often noticed a sensation in you hands and feet that feels like needle pricks (Paresthesia). This sensation, known as numbness, can be experienced when pressure is applied to your hands or feet and when they remain in the same position for a long time. Numbness and tingling that lasts from a few seconds to a few minutes is considered to be absolutely normal. However, numbness that is extreme and lasts for several hours is a serious concern and should not be ignored. This kind of numbness may be caused due to various factors and an appropriate diagnosis is essential for its proper treatment. Let's have a look at the possible causes and treatment of numbness and tingling in hands and feet.
Numb hands and feet can be caused due to various reasons ranging from nutrition to a serious illness or a nervous system disorder. Listed below are a few of its most common causes.
Anxiety and Migraines
Two of the most common causes of numbness in feet and hands are an anxiety attack or an impending migraine. Anxiety in a person leads to certain physiological changes like an increased heart rate and shallow breathing, as well as numbness. Similarly the onset of a migraine is usually accompanied by numbing and heaviness in the hands, feet, the neck and mouth.
Deficiency of essential vitamins like vitamin B5, B6 and B12, vitamin A and vitamin D can cause numbness along with cold hands and feet, fatigue, muscle weakness and loss of sensation. It is therefore extremely necessary to consume the right vitamin for feet numbness as well as numbness in hands.
Numbness in hands and feet is an important symptom of diabetes, especially type II diabetes. The high blood sugar and glucose levels of diabetics causes the nervous system to malfunction and eventually leads to its damage.
Numbness in hands and feet while sleeping is an important symptom of multiple sclerosis, especially during its initial stages. Multiple sclerosis is characterized by the gradual loss of the myelin sheath which is a protecting covering of the nerve cells. This leads to nerve damage, also known as neurodegeneration and is responsible for the numbness.
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
The transient ischemic attack, also known as a mini stroke, is a disorder caused by the temporary loss of blood supply to the brain thereby interrupting brain function. Numbness on either side of the body that lasts for less than an hour or two, is a symptom of this disorder.
Raynaud's syndrome is a disorder in which blood vessel spasms are experienced either due to a very low temperature or due to a sudden, strong emotional outburst. The spasms block or restrict the blood flow to areas like the fingers and feet which leads to numbness in the fingers and toes.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by an injury to the nerves around the wrist. Forearm and left arm numbness are two of the most important signs of this disorder.
Angina is a disorder characterized by reduced oxygen supply to the heart due to thickening of the arteries. Left side numbness accompanied by certain amount of pain is an important symptom of this disorder.
Peripheral Artery Disease
Peripheral artery disease is a disorder caused due to the accumulation of plaque, which is a fatty substance, in the arteries. This accumulation leads to the narrowing and hardening of the arteries which restricts the flow of blood. Numbness in fingers, arms and feet along with cold hands and feet are important symptoms of this disease.
There are several other causes that can lead to a numbing sensation in the hands and feet. Some of these include, insect and animal bites, as a side effect of certain forms of medication, nerve damage brought on by tobacco, alcohol and lead and more.
Getting rid of numbness in hands and feet will require the treatment of the condition or disease due to which it is being caused. Thus depending on the condition that has led to the numbness, the treatment can be prescribed by a doctor. Once the cause is dealt with, the numbness and other accompanying symptoms will be taken care of as well.
One can always try stretching the muscles out as well as massaging the area. Stretch the feet and hands such that the muscles are allowed to breathe. This will improve the blood circulation. Similarly, when one begins to experience this numbing sensation, one can begin massaging the area, either with oil or by simply applying pressure with fingers. This will also lead to an increase in the blood flow and could thereby get rid of the numbness. Another method that can be used is to use a hot compress on the area that feels numb. Exercise and massage therapy too can be helpful in eliminating numbness.
But, like we mentioned at the beginning of the article, if the numbness is constant then it needs to be checked and a proper diagnosis carried through by a specialist. It has to be noted that in certain conditions like multiple sclerosis (which is difficult to treat) certain amount of numbness and loss of sensation is experienced all the time and might not be treatable.
Now that you know the causes of numbness in hands and feet, if you experience similar sensations for more than a day or two, make sure you consult a doctor. Ignoring this symptom will only worsen the underlying disorder and hence, it is essential that you get it diagnosed and treated.