What Causes Numbness of the Hands and Feet?
Everyone is faced with numbness of feet and hands from time to time. Sometimes this phenomenon can be a symptom of a dangerous illness.
Suppose you slept in an inconvenient position or sat with an uncomfortable tuck of your leg. Slight loss of sensitivity in the hands, legs, or feet, tingling, numbness is common.
Most people in such cases simply try to stretch the stiff limb. And after a couple of minutes, they just forget about what happened.
If numbness in the hands and feet has happened to you more than once, it may not be just a coincidence. Various reasons can cause numbness, and some are not as minor as they might seem at first glance.
The fact is that the limbs are a kind of terminal station along the route of the nervous and circulatory systems. If any problems appear in the hands or feet, this means that either nerve impulses or blood do not reach the end of its route.
Blood carries with it the oxygen and nutrients that tissues need. And impulses are transmitted along with the nervous system that provides control of the body.
Numbness feet and hands signal exactly that blood and nerve impulses are lost along the way.
Why Does Limb Numbness Occur?
The most common cause is pinched blood vessels or pinched nerve fibers. If blood circulation is restored after you stretch the limb, the nerve tissues are functioning, and everything is in order. But if the numbness of the hands and feet is repeated with a certain regularity, and at some point, you realize that the limbs are numb for no apparent reason, then this may be an alarming symptom. Such symptoms may indicate the progress of a rather dangerous disease.
Reasons for numbness of feet and hands:
- Lack of vitamins. For the normal functioning of the nervous system, vitamins E and P are needed, and numerous vitamins of group B. Lack of vitamin B12 can provoke peripheral neuropathy.
- Type 2 diabetes onset. Neuropathy can also accompany the development of type 2 diabetes. Most often, this neuropathy in diabetes affects the legs, not the arms. So, if your hands often get numb, then most likely you should look for other reasons.
- Peripheral neuropathy. Neuropathy itself can develop without diabetes; this is a fairly common age-related disease. It affects the nerves in the limbs that are farthest from the brain and spinal cord.
- Infections. Some infectious diseases can have symptoms as tingling in the hands and feet. Among them are quite dangerous, for example, chickenpox, viral herpes, HIV, Lyme disease.
- Toxins. In some cases, numbness and tingling in the limbs can be a symptom of poisoning with salts of heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, mercury. However, this is rare, and such poisoning will also manifest itself in many other symptoms.
- Autoimmune diseases. In the early stages, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis can also manifest themselves as numbness in the feet and hands.
- Alcoholism and smoking. Alcohol abuse can provoke alcoholic neuropathy, and long-term smoking negatively affects the blood supply to blood vessels and the work of peripheral nerves.
What to Do if You Have Numbness in the Hands and Feet?
Only a doctor can determine exactly what causes numbness in the hands and feet, reveal hidden diseases, and prescribe effective treatment. First, you will need a consultation with a therapist, depending on the accompanying symptoms, a neurologist, cardiologist, or endocrinologist. From examinations, ultrasound of the vessels of the arms, legs, and/or peripheral nerves, MRI, cardiography, general urine, and blood tests, hormone tests, etc., can be prescribed.
Based on the anamnesis, the doctor decides what to do when numb feet and hands and selects therapy, including taking vitamin complexes and medications, physiotherapy, massage, therapeutic exercises, injections of anti-inflammatory drugs. In severe cases, surgical intervention will be required.
Prevention of Numbness of Feet and Hands
You need to monitor the state of the nervous and circulatory system and lead a healthy lifestyle to encounter numbness of the extremities and related diseases as rarely as possible. Smoking and alcohol are especially bad for blood supply. But obesity, decreased physical activity, and an unbalanced diet with a high content of salt and carbohydrates can have no less negative consequences. But a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, herbs, and legumes, on the contrary, will be an excellent preventive measure. Also, do not forget to drink enough fluids and try not to be in the same position for a long time.
If you begin to feel numbness in the hands and feet, see a doctor immediately for no apparent reason.
Most likely, the problem will have a simple solution (for example, a course of vitamins). Still, it is quite possible that you can start treating some dangerous disease at a very early stage by contacting a doctor promptly. Care about your health and do not self-medicate.
- What is numbness a symptom of?
The most common reason why arms and legs go numb is heart and vascular disease, leading to circulatory disorders. With insufficient blood flow, cellular nutrition worsens, stagnation occurs in the limbs.
- When should I worry about hand and feet numbness?
What is dangerous numbness of the limbs? The consequences of inaction can be severe, including loss of ambulation and disability. It is important not to miss the time – the earlier the visit to the doctor happened, the more gentle the correction methods will be and the higher the chances of a successful outcome.
- Is numbness a serious problem?
If the limbs become numb, such a symptom is considered neurological and may indicate compression, inflammation, or damage to the nerves of sensitivity. Numbness is considered one of the serious symptoms of diseases.
- Can high blood pressure cause numbness in the legs?
Hypertension leads to functional and organic lesions of the most important organs – the heart, kidneys and central nervous system. With increased blood pressure, numbness and swelling of the legs may appear.
- What doctor should I see for numbness in hands and legs?
Numbness is a neurological symptom, therefore, with complaints of numbness, you should contact a neurologist.