Your Health: Why Are My Hands and Feet Tingling?

Nerve damage caused by high blood sugar is the most common cause of numb or tingly hands and feet.

Diabetes

Nerve damage caused by high blood sugar is the most common cause of numb or tingly hands and feet. Untreated diabetes may have other symptoms, too. You might feel thirsty, pee a lot, or your breath may smell fruity.

Your doctor can test your blood to see if you have diabetes. If you do, she'll tell you how to prevent nerve damage or keep it from getting worse.

Your growing baby and the extra fluids that come with pregnancy can press on nerves in your body.

Pregnancy

Your growing baby and the extra fluids that come with pregnancy can press on nerves in your body. This causes numbness and stinging in your arms, hands, and legs. Your belly might feel numb because the skin is stretched. Wearing a wrist splint at night may help with hand problems. The tingling should go away once you give birth.

A bulging or slipped disk in your spine can put pressure on the nerves that travel down your legs, causing numb or tingly feet.

Pinched Nerve

A bulging or slipped disk in your spine can put pressure on the nerves that travel down your legs, causing numb or tingly feet. And a pinched nerve in your wrist can make your hands and fingers lose feeling (also called carpal tunnel syndrome). Your doctor will do tests to find out if that's the case. She may suggest rest, a splint or brace, physical therapy, or, in some cases, surgery to fix the problem.

Autoimmune diseases (like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis) make your immune system start fighting parts of your own body, like your nerves.

Autoimmune Disease

Autoimmune diseases (like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis) make your immune system start fighting parts of your own body, like your nerves. They may come on quickly or slowly, and can be triggered by a recent infection. Your doctor will check your symptoms and medical history to help pinpoint what's happening and try treatments to ease your symptoms.

If you're not getting enough vitamins B or E, it can show up in your nerves and other parts of your body.

Not Enough Vitamins

If you're not getting enough vitamins B or E, it can show up in your nerves and other parts of your body. You might not be eating the right foods. Or you might have anemia, a genetic disorder, cystic fibrosis, or another medical issue. Your doctor can give you a blood test to check your vitamin levels and recommend diet changes, supplements, or other treatments.

Nerve issues can be a side effect of some prescription drugs.

Medications

Nerve issues can be a side effect of some prescription drugs. Medications for cancer (chemotherapy), HIV or AIDS, high blood pressure, tuberculosis, and certain infections can cause weakness or numbness in your hands and feet. Check with your doctor to see if you might be able to switch or change the dosage of your treatment to ease your tingling.

Several viral and bacterial infections can damage your nerves and cause numbing or stabbing sensations in your hands and feet.

Infection

Several viral and bacterial infections can damage your nerves and cause numbing or stabbing sensations in your hands and feet. Some of these viruses are:

Your doctor may be able to treat the infection so your symptoms go away. Vaccinations can ward off conditions like shingles and hepatitis B. Pain medication may also help.

Your kidneys get rid of toxins in your blood that can hurt nerves.

Kidney Failure

Your kidneys get rid of toxins in your blood that can hurt nerves. So when your kidneys aren't working right, your nerves suffer. The two most common causes of kidney failure are diabetes and high blood pressure. Dialysis is a short-term treatment for kidney failure -- you'll likely need a kidney transplant to treat it long-term.

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies (HNPP) are two genetic disorders that cause numbness in your hands and feet.

Genetic Disorder

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies (HNPP) are two genetic disorders that cause numbness in your hands and feet. Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease wears away your muscle. You may need physical therapy or special aids to lessen symptoms. HNPP affects your nerves and is more likely to cause numbness and weakness in your arms and legs. Avoiding certain positions can help.

This can happen with cancerous or noncancerous tumors.

Tumor

A cluster of abnormal cells (tumor) growing next to or on your nerves can press on them and take away the feeling in your arms and legs. This can happen with cancerous or noncancerous tumors. Tumors in other places may affect your immune system and cause nerve damage. If treatment shrinks the tumor, the symptoms may go away.

An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can cause pain, burning, and numbness in your hands and feet.

Thyroid Problems

An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can cause pain, burning, and numbness in your hands and feet. This usually happens if your hypothyroidism is severe and you haven't treated it. Thyroid medication, exercise, and a healthy body weight can help with these symptoms.

When you abuse alcohol, it acts as a toxin, damaging nerves and tissues.

Drinking Too Much Alcohol

When you abuse alcohol, it acts as a toxin, damaging nerves and tissues. Over time, alcoholism can make your body run low on B vitamins like B12 and folate. Both issues keep your nerves from working the way they should, and you lose feeling in your feet and hands. If you stop drinking, it may fix some of the damage, but it can also be permanent.

Some things are toxic to your body, like shellfish algae, lead, mercury, and some herbal medicines.

Toxins

Could you be poisoning yourself without knowing it? Some things are toxic to your body, like shellfish algae, lead, mercury, and some herbal medicines. A blood or urine test can show if these toxins are in your body.

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REFERENCES:

  • Mayo Clinic: "Peripheral Neuropathy," "Pinched nerve," "Hypothyroidism: Can It Cause Peripheral Neuropathy?"
  • The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy: "Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy," "Autoimmune Disease," "Other Drugs," "Hereditary Disorders," "Alcohol," "Toxins."
  • American Academy of Family Physicians: "Changes in Your Body During Pregnancy: Third Trimester."
  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: "Peripheral Neuropathy Fact Sheet."
  • Office on Women's Health: "Autoimmune Diseases."
  • Continuum (Minneapolis, Minnesota): "Peripheral Neuropathy Due to Vitamin Deficiency, Toxins, and Medications."
  • American Kidney Fund: "Kidney Failure (ESRD) Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments."
  • American Diabetes Association: "Kidney Disease (Nephropathy)."
  • Leukemia and Lymphoma Society: "Peripheral Neuropathy."
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