Tingling extremities of hands, feet or both are common and bothersome problems.
This health problem is caused by nerve damage known as peripheral neuropathy that affects the nerves distant from the brain and spinal cord and located in your extremities. Some tinglings can be benign while others may have ominous origins.
Types: There are many different factors that trigger peripheral neuropathy or tingling in the extremities. In some cases, tinglings may be accompanied by symptoms such as pain, itching, numbness or muscle wasting or the sensation of pins and needles.
Tingling extremities can be can be, temporary, episodic, severe or chronic
Toxins and Trauma: A variety of issues such as bacterial or viral infections, toxins, toxic exposures or traumatic injuries or repetitive stress injuries all may cause the sensations. As well, tingling in the hands and feet may be due to vitamin deficiencies or alcoholism.
Nerve entrapment syndromes. These include carpal tunnel syndrome, ulnar nerve palsy, peroneal nerve palsy, and radial nerve palsy. These conditions result from persistent pressure on nerves.
It's important to seek prompt medical evaluation for any persistent tingling in your hands, feet or both. With nerve entrapments, such tingling sensations are often relieved by removing the pressure.
Systemic Disease: Another culprit causing such sensations is systemic diseases. For example, diabetes is one of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy and in diabetic neuropathy tinglings often first develop in both feet then go up the legs.
Diagnostic Tests: Besides a physical exam and extensive medical history several tests may be carried out for diagnosis. These may include blood tests to detect diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, or other metabolic disorders.
An examination of cerebrospinal fluid may be done to identify antibodies associated with peripheral neuropathy.
An electromyogram to test the electrical activity of muscle may be done. Additional tests are a nerve conduction velocity test or a skin biopsy to look at nerve fibre endings, while other diagnostic options may include a Nerve biopsy, CT scan or MRI
Treating tinglings: Over time, peripheral neuropathy can worsen resulting in decreased mobility and even disability. The earlier the underlying cause of your tingling is identified and brought under control, the less likely you are to suffer potentially lifelong consequences.
Certain types of tingling can be improved with treatment, for example, good blood sugar control in diabetes can slow the progression of diabetic neuropathy.
And in the case of people with vitamin deficiencies, vitamin supplementation can help to correct peripheral neuropathy.
Some lifestyle change recommendations may include maintaining an optimal weight, avoiding exposure to toxins, following a supervised exercise program, eating a balanced diet, and avoiding or limiting alcohol consumption