Common causes of peripheral neuropathy, often called numbness and tingling, in the hands includes normal conditions such as sleeping on the hands or failing to stretch them for long periods of time. There are, however, other serious conditions that involve damaged nerves and diseases that also cause the same feelings of tingling and numbness. A medical evaluation should be done if the condition persists and a sudden feeling of numbness or tingling should be investigated immediately because it could be a warning of a stroke.
Stroke or TIA
A stroke results when "... the blood supply to a part of your brain is interrupted or severely reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients," according to the Mayo Clinic. Numbness in the hands, which may affect only one side of the body, is a stroke warning. Transient ischemic attack (TIA), sometimes called a "mini-stroke," is a temporary blood flow interruption. TIAs are signs that a major stroke might soon occur. Both conditions can result in a tingling feeling in the hands, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The carpal tunnel is located on interior side of the wrist and protects the main nerve to the hand and fingers. When the tunnel is too small or has been compressed by disease or repetitive actions, the hands can tingle or feel numb. This condition can be relieved through surgery or physiotherapy.
Diabetic nerve compression, also called diabetic neuropathy, can create a feeling of numbness and tingling in the hands. This sensation is caused by the swelling and then the compression of the nerve because of extremely high blood sugar levels. Treatment involves medication, diet and exercise to return the blood sugar to the proper levels. Once the nerve has been damaged, this condition may persist, even after the blood sugar levels have returned to normal.
Multiple sclerosis is a progressive disease in which the immune system destroys the nerve covers. The nerves in any part of the body can be affected, but frequently the hands feel numb. This disease has periods of remission, but eventually, the numbness is permanent. Tingling can also be felt in both the feet and hands. The exact causes of this autoimmune disease are unknown, and there currently is no cure. Treatment includes drug and physiotherapy. A plasma exchange procedure is also sometimes included in the treatment.
Raynaud's phenomenon, also known as Raynaud's disease, creates numbness in the hands that is caused by the constriction of the blood vessels during cold weather or times of stress. The exact causes of the condition are unknown, but researchers suspect that the disease may be hereditary, according to the Mayo Clinic. Because of the lack of blood flowing to the hands, tingling sensations may be felt, and then a general numbness is reported. The disease is difficult to diagnose, and treatment involves medication and, in severe cases, surgery.
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