Don’t Ignore Numbness in Your Hands and Feet!
Don’t Ignore Numbness in Your Hands and Feet Gradual onset of numbness or tingling in the hands and feet often occurs among working-aged adults from repetitive and forceful activities, e.g. prolonged use of a computer keyboard and mouse. This symptom can have a wide variety of causes including poor nutrition (particularly vitamin B deficiency). But if the numbness and tingling feels worse and associated with pain, it may be a sign of peripheral neuropathy that should not be left untreated.
What is Peripheral Neuropathy and what causes it?
Peripheral neuropathy refers to the condition that occurs when the peripheral nerves has become damaged. Peripheral nerves link the brain, spinal cord and the rest of the body. They carry messages to communicate with the body’s muscles and organs. Damage to the peripheral nerves can affect internal organs, the movement control, and can also result in numbness, tingling, unusual sensation, and pain. Moreover, it can cause paralysis if a nerve is completely lacerated.
Factors that can cause peripheral neuropathy
- Inflamatory neuropathy from abnormal immunity for e.g. GBS, CIDP.
- Hereditary neuropathies or family history of neuropathy.
- Certain infections causing nerves to become inflamed.
- Diabetic people with poorly controlled blood sugar levels.
- Prolonged pressure on a nerve or repetitive motions.
- Chronic diseases, e.g. kidney failure, vitamin B12 deficiency, paraproteinemia.
When to see doctor
If numbness persists over 2-3 days and is not improving, lifestyle changes and exercise may help improve the symptoms. For those who are not improving after 1 week and numbness spreads to other parts of the body, it is better to consult the doctor for an evaluation.
The treatment for Peripheral Neuropathy
Treatment of numbness or tingling in the hands and feet depends on the underlying cause. For mild cases, the doctor may prescribe medicines to ease symptoms. If patients have neuropathy caused by pressure on the nerves, the doctor may recommend surgery to reduce the pressure.
However, not all numbness is indicative of a serious problem, but it is something you definitely should not ignore. It could be indicative of something more serious; because vitamin deficiency, diabetes, kidney failure, and nerve damage are among the medical causes of these symptoms.