Tingling in hands or feet is not a disease, but can be a symptom of one. There are numerous reasons for tingling in hands or feet which include potentially lethal causes such as stroke or diabetes. Other causes are for chronic but non-lethal conditions that tend to do better the sooner the patient can begin treatment. Always get any strange numbness, pins-and-needles or tingling sensations in the limbs or extremities checked, just to be safe.
The numbness and tingling sensations being described does not apply to limbs that have fallen asleep due to lack of blood circulation. As soon as circulation returns, there is no need contact a doctor, although returning blood can be painful, the pain will go away. People who fall asleep in an unusual position often wakes up with a numb or tingling in hands.
Many Possible Causes
There are dozens of causes for tingling in hands or feet. The most common is a form of nerve damage. Discovering the cause of the nerve damage may take time. Nerve damage can come from diabetes, an infection, a bad injury such as a car crash or exposure to poisons. According to WebMD.com, 30% of patients with nerve damage are never able to find out the cause of the damage, despite going to a doctor.
Other causes include, but are not limited to:
- Carpel tunnel syndrome
- Radial nerve palsy
- Ulnar nerve palsy
- Vitamin B6 deficiency or overdose
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Alcoholism which leads to vitamin deficiency
- Smoking, which slows down the circulation
- Kidney disorders
- Liver disorders
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Blood circulation problems, so that the blood has difficulty reaching hands or feet
- Thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism
- Tumors or other growths on the nerves
- Spinal problems where a vertebra may press on a nerve.
What the Doctor Needs to Know
When you see your doctor about the strange tingling in hands or feet, he or she will need to know some things in order to help with diagnosis. Be ready to answer these questions:
- Does the tingling in hands come and go or does it last?
- Does the tingling wake you up from a sound sleep?
- Does the tingling prevent you from going asleep?
- Are you experiencing any other symptoms such as a stiff neck, limb pain or a burning sensation in the limbs?
- Is the tingling in just one hand or both hands? Or in just one foot or both feet?
- Have you ever had a neck, shoulder or spinal injury?
- What is your job? Do you do any repetitive motions such as typing?
- Have you recently started a new medication?
Most people with tingling in hands and feet cannot feel pain as well as usual. This means that they can get cut, burned or suffer another injury before experiencing any pain. People with this problem need to keep checking where their hands are to avoid injury.