Tingling in a person’s hands or feet, or both, is referred to as “paresthesia.” You’ve probably been in this situation before: you fall asleep or remain in one position for a while, and when you get up to move, you realize your limb has “fallen asleep.” This is a common, non-serious cause of tingling that occurs when an area of the body has pressure on it for a while. The feeling in that area can be restored by removing the pressure and then massaging or moving the affected limb.
But what if your tingling sensations are accompanied by other, more severe symptoms or it seems to be occurring regularly? In some cases, tingling can be a sign of something more serious: peripheral neuropathy, which indicates nerve damage to some degree.
There are many different types and causes of peripheral neuropathy. The most common identified cause is diabetes, with over half of diabetic patients experiencing peripheral neuropathy at some point after their diagnosis.
Causes of tingling in the hands and feet
- Carpal tunnel syndrome, which is an example of a common repetitive stress injury
- Liver disease
- Hormonal imbalances
- Exposure to toxins
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Auto-immune disorders
- Use of certain prescribed medications
- Animal bites
The list above doesn’t even begin to cover all the potential causes of peripheral neuropathy, so you can see there is no one-size-fits-all treatment plan for patients with this condition. Treatment requires identifying the cause first and then targeting it accordingly.
If you are experiencing tingling along with more severe symptoms like rashes or fainting, make an appointment to see your physician. The sooner you come, the better your chances of restoring feeling to that area and preventing further nerve damage. At your appointment, be sure to disclose all relevant info regarding your symptoms, as well as medications you are taking or have taken.
Your doctor may need to order blood work, scans, or further tests to determine the cause of your peripheral neuropathy. Treatment plans are geared toward fixing the underlying cause of the condition; for example, if your peripheral neuropathy is caused by diabetes, you may need to evaluate your plan to control your blood sugar.
One thing that’s very important to note is that if you have peripheral neuropathy in an area of your body, you will experience decreased sensation, which in turn means you’ll need to be more cautious and vigilant about protecting this area so that you don’t injure or damage the area without realizing it.