Tingling and numbness in your hands and feet is something you definitely should not ignore. That being said, not all tingling is indicative of a serious problem, like when your foot “falls asleep,” for example. However, many instances could suggest a larger issue, and should not be taken lightly. Here’s our guide on which types of tingling and numbness in your hands and feet you definitely should not ignore.
Examining the Sensations
Tingling in your hands or feet can feel like constant pinpricks. It’s generally impossible to ignore, and can be very aggravating. You might try shaking the problem area, or wiggling your fingers or toes, hoping that an increase in blood flow will get rid of the tingling feeling. However, this only works when the tingling is caused by reduced blood flow, like when you sleep in an awkward position.
Numbness is a more complex feeling. When numbness occurs, you may feel as though you’ve lost control of your hands or feet. You might not feel anything at all. It’s similar to the sensation of sleeping in an uncomfortable position, only the numbness won’t go away. When you experience numbness for more than a day or two, take your problem seriously. At a minimum, you have probably suffered nerve damage, and you could have an even more serious malady.
What Tingling Means
Diagnosing feelings of tingling or numbness is tricky. If you experience either for more than a day or two, visit with your doctor, who will give you a full medical examination. The thing to know about tingling is that it is not as serious as numbness. In fact, many of the conditions that cause tingling are temporary. However, do pay careful attention if the tingling is associated with pain.
Pain combined with numbness is a much more serious matter. It is a warning sign that your body is breaking down. If the pain is severe or chronic, you could have nerve damage that is preventing normal body function. It’s often a sign of infection, which could stem from bacterial or viral sources. An undiagnosed disease is another possibility. Regardless, there are many potential issues that stem from tingling or numbness, making it something that warrants a visit to your doctor.
What Numbness Means
Unlike tingling, numbness usually indicates a serious health issue. No minor bodily irritations would cause an extended period of numbness. Diseases, such as diabetes, are a more likely cause. In the most extreme instances, you may suffer issues with your central nervous system.
As an example, Lupus, an autoimmune disease, is a condition that often reveals itself through numbness. If the issue isn’t a disease, you may have spine or neck conditions that are causing the sensation. Visit your doctor as soon as possible if you experience any sustained numbness.
Other Causes of Tingling and Numbness
Potential triggers for tingling and numbness include repetitive stress disorders, systemic diseases, infections and vitamin deficiencies. Stress disorders, such as injuries suffered while typing, are less serious. Systemic diseases such as liver ailments, benign tumors and chronic inflammation will require medical attention immediately.
Vitamin deficiencies are treatable, and therefore less serious. The key is to identify the condition quickly. Otherwise, you’ll endure needless pain for an extended period.
Infections cover the spectrum from modest irritations to potentially fatal. They, too, require a medical examination to determine if treatment by antibiotics is required.
In conclusion, prolonged tingling and numbness can be serious concerns. Should you suffer from either symptom, you should see a doctor immediately. Your doctor will be able to identify the severity of the problem, and offer the best course for treatment.