Reasons for tingling in the hands and feet

November 12, 2012

Reasons for tingling in the hands and feet

Everyone experiences that feeling of tingling in the hands or the feet sometimes. Often the pressure caused by falling asleep on top of your arm for example or by sitting with crossed legs for too long is what causes it. Most of the time changing position and shaking it off is all that is required for the pins and needles feeling to wear off. For some people, however, the tingling in hands, feet or both can be much more severe and even chronic. In many cases it occurs along side other symptoms including itching, pain or complete numbness. Another serious symptom, which can accompany tingling in the hands and feet is muscle wasting. In cases like these, it is most likely that the patient is suffering from nerve damage. Nerve damage can be caused by a variety of different things but a few examples are repetitive stress injuries, bacterial or viral infections, diabetes and traumatic injuries. Nerve damage producing these kinds of symptoms is known as peripheral neuropathy. This refers to the affected nerve being located far away from the brain and spinal cord. Most commonly the affected nerves are found in the hands of feet, explaining why the most common symptom is tingling in the hands, feet or both places. Over time peripheral neuropathy will get progressively worse and can eventually lead to decreased mobility and in extreme cases even disability. Those most commonly affected are older adults and it is thought that approximately 20 million Americans are suffering from peripheral neuropathy and regularly experience the irritating tingling in the hands or feet.

The faster the signs and symptoms of nerve damage are recognised, the faster treatment can be started. If you experience persistent tingling in the hands or feet, see the doctor so that the underlying problem can be discovered and the symptoms brought under control. The earlier treatment is sought the easier it will be to reduce the effects of the nerve damage.

Approximately 30% of cases of peripheral neuropathy are caused by diabetes, making it the number one cause. It is quite often the case for tingling in the hands and legs to be the first sign of diabetes, followed by the sensation spreading up the legs and arms. In around 30% of cases of peripheral neuropathy, the cause is unknown and usually remains unknown throughout the suffererÂ’s life. All that can be offered to these people is mild treatments to control the severity of the tingling in the hands or feet.

The remaining 40% of cases of this nerve damage condition are caused by one of four factors. The first is nerve entrapment syndromes such as carpal tunnel syndrome. The second is systemic diseases, which include such things as liver disease, kidney disorders, blood diseases, hormonal imbalances and cancers and benign tumours putting pressure on nerves. The third factor is vitamin deficiencies including vitamin E, B1, B6 and B12, which are all needed in order for nerves to function properly and healthily. Ironically too much B6 can also cause tingling in the hands and feet. The fourth factor is alcoholism as alcoholics often have vitamin deficiencies and it is also thought that alcoholism itself can directly cause nerve damage.

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