Winter hands and feet symptoms: Chilblains – Symptoms and causes
Chilblains | NHS inform
Chilblains are small, itchy swellings on the skin that occur as a reaction to cold temperatures.
They most often affect the body’s extremities, such as the toes, fingers, heels, ears and nose.
Chilblains can be uncomfortable, but rarely cause any permanent damage. They normally heal within a few weeks if further exposure to the cold is avoided.
Chilblains can turn the skin red and may cause a burning or stinging sensation.
In severe cases, chilblains can cause the skin to blister.
Signs and symptoms of chilblains
Chilblains usually develop several hours after exposure to the cold. They typically cause a burning and itching sensation in the affected areas, which can become more intense if you go into a warm room.
The affected skin may also swell and turn red or dark blue.
In severe cases, the surface of the skin may break and sores or blisters can develop.
It’s important not to scratch the skin as it can break easily and become infected.
When to seek medical advice for chilblains
Most people don’t need to seek medical advice if they have chilblains as they usually heal within a few weeks and don’t cause any permanent problems.
Speak to your GP or chiropodist if you have:
- severe or recurring chilblains
- chilblains that don’t improve within a few weeks
You should also seek medical advice if you think your skin may have become infected.
Signs of infection include:
- swelling and pus forming in the affected area
- feeling generally unwell
- a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100. 4F) or above
- swollen glands
What causes chilblains?
Chilblains are the result of an abnormal reaction to the cold. They’re common in the UK because damp, cold weather is usual in the winter.
Some people develop chilblains that last for several months every winter.
When the skin is cold, blood vessels near its surface get narrower. If the skin is then exposed to heat, the blood vessels become wider.
If this happens too quickly, blood vessels near the surface of the skin can’t always handle the increased blood flow.
This can cause blood to leak into the surrounding tissue, which may cause the swelling and itchiness associated with chilblains.
Who’s more at risk of chilblains?
Some people are more at risk of chilblains than others.
This includes people with:
- poor circulation
- a family history of chilblains
- regular exposure to cold, damp or draughty conditions
- a poor diet or low body weight
- lupus – a long-term condition that causes swelling in the body’s tissues
- Raynaud’s phenomenon – a common condition that affects the blood supply to certain parts of the body, usually the fingers and toes
People who smoke are more at risk of chilblains as nicotine constricts blood vessels.
Chilblains can also occur on areas of the feet exposed to pressure, such as a bunion or a toe that’s squeezed by tight shoes.
Chilblains often get better on their own after a week or two without treatment.
It may help to use a soothing lotion, such as calamine or witch hazel, to relieve itching. Your pharmacist may also be able to recommend a suitable product.
If your chilblains are severe and keep returning, speak to your GP. They may recommend taking a daily tablet or capsule of a medication called nifedipine. This works by relaxing the blood vessels, improving your circulation.
Nifedipine can be used to help existing chilblains heal, or can be taken during the winter to stop them developing.
If you’re susceptible to chilblains, you can reduce your risk of developing them by:
- limiting your exposure to the cold
- looking after your feet
- taking steps to improve your circulation
If your skin gets cold, it’s important to warm it up gradually. Heating the skin too quickly – for example, by placing your feet in hot water or near a heater – is one of the main causes of chilblains.
stop smoking – nicotine causes the blood vessels to constrict, which can make chilblains worse
keep active – this helps improve your circulation
wear warm clothes and insulate your hands, feet and legs – wearing long johns, long boots, tights, leg warmers or long socks will help, and it’s a good idea to wear a clean pair of socks if you get cold feet in bed
avoid tight shoes and boots – these can restrict the circulation to your toes and feet
moisturise your feet regularly – this stops them drying out and the skin cracking
eat at least one hot meal during the day – this’ll help warm your whole body, particularly in cold weather
warm your shoes on the radiator before you put them on – make sure damp shoes are dry before you wear them; if your feet are already cold, make sure your shoes aren’t too hot to avoid causing chilblains
warm your hands before going outdoors – soak them in warm water for several minutes and dry thoroughly, and wear cotton-lined waterproof gloves if necessary; if your hands are already cold, make sure not to warm them up too quickly to avoid causing chilblains
keep your house well heated – try to keep one room in the house warm and avoid drafts
if you’re diabetic, regularly check your feet (or ask someone else to do this) – people with diabetes may not be able to feel their feet and could have infected chilblains without realising it
Complications of chilblains
If you have severe or recurring chilblains, there’s a small risk of further problems developing, such as:
- infection from blistered or scratched skin
- ulcers forming on the skin
- permanent discolouration of the skin
- scarring of the skin
Avoiding complications of chilblains
It’s often possible to avoid complications of chilblains.
do not scratch or rub the affected areas of skin
do not directly overheat the chilblains (by using hot water, for example)
You can also help reduce your risk of infection by cleaning any breaks in your skin with antiseptic and covering the area with an antiseptic dressing. The dressing should be changed every other day until the skin heals.
If the skin does become infected, antibiotics may be prescribed to treat the infection.
25 November 2022
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Having occasional cold hands and feet is usually not a concern, but see a doctor if this happens a lot or is accompanied by changes in skin color. This could indicate an underlying medical cause.
Our bodies are designed to regulate our temperature. When it’s cold outside, your body makes sure to keep the blood flowing to your core and vital organs to keep them warm. This can change the amount of blood flow to your hands and feet, making them feel cold. This is normal. The blood vessels in your hands and feet constrict (spasm) when it’s cold, to prevent heat loss from your core.
Some people tend to have colder feet and hands naturally, without an underlying disease. It’s a fairly common condition. When your hands and feet naturally get cold, you may need to take extra precautions in cold weather to protect them.
But if your cold feet and hands are constantly bothersome, or if you notice additional symptoms, such as color changes in your fingers, there are more things you can do.
Here’s what to know about cold feet and hands and what you can do about it.
Some people work, live, or play in very cold environments. Meat packers or others who spend time in freezers, military personnel, mountain climbers, hunters, utility linemen, and rescue workers are some of the people who need special protective clothing to keep them as warm as possible.
Being in a very cold environment carries the danger of frostbite and permanent damage to hands and feet. In addition, there’s a danger that the ability to work emergency equipment will be impaired by extreme cold.
Ongoing research is looking at whether working in a constantly cold environment helps you to become more accustomed to it and to avoid injury. According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), some people can develop a tolerance for cold. Fishermen, for example, can work with their bare hands in extremely cold weather.
The CCOHS notes that women are at more risk of cold injury because their hands and feet cool faster.
No matter what’s causing your cold feet and hands, it’s important for your comfort to warm them up. Here are some remedies:
- Consider clothing choices. Wear a hat, gloves, warm socks, and a warm coat in cold weather. Wear layers to keep your core warm, and don’t wear tight clothing. Some people find a scarf or turtleneck helpful for staying warm.
- Help kids know what to do. For children, make sure they’re warmly dressed and know to come inside if they feel chilled or their hands or feet get chilled.
- Wear socks or slippers. Wear a sweater and warm socks if you’re cold inside.
- Exercise every day. Exercise daily, including walking, to improve your blood circulation.
- Do a quick warmup. Try jumping jacks to get your blood moving. March in place while sitting. Wiggle your toes and make circles with your feet. Make circles in the air with each finger if they’re stiff. Make wide circles in the air with your arms to encourage blood flow.
- Move around regularly. Take time to get up at least every half-hour to stretch or walk around.
- Use an electric heating pad. Electric heating pads come in different sizes and styles that you can use for different areas of your body.
- For feet, use a heating pad on your lower back. Use a heating pad in key locations like your lower back and on your feet while you’re relaxing at night. This can help your blood vessels open up and allow more blood flow to your legs.
- Hold something warm. Hold a warm drink in your hands.
- Quick massage. Briskly massage your hands or feet.
- Keep warmers in reach. Use single-use or reusable commercial hand or foot warmers when you’ll be outside in the cold. LL Bean sells warmers that last for 8 hours.
We asked an expert for additional tips to help with cold hands and feet. Wendy Slate is a Certified Hand Therapist with 38 years of experience. She founded Cape Cod Hand and Upper Extremity Therapy 16 years ago, and has worked with many people who have Raynaud’s.
- Wear mittens. “Wear mittens instead of gloves,” Slate advised, “because mittens keep your fingers together and conserve warmth.”
- Treat your hands and feet to paraffin wax. She uses a paraffin wax bath to warm up hands and soothe arthritis. “You can buy a paraffin wax kit to do this at home,” Slate said. “After immersing your hands in the paraffin, put a plastic bag around them to keep the heat in, and then wrap your hands in towels.”
- Use heat with moisture. Slate also recommended moist heat packs that you can warm up in the microwave. “You can buy these at craft fairs. They’re filled with beans, rice, or other grains that give out moist heat when you microwave them,” Slate said. “Moist heat penetrates better.”
- Avoid direct contact with frozen items. Slate advised staying away from the freezer sections in stores, if you have Raynaud’s, and wearing gloves if you do have to reach into the freezer.
- Look into biofeedback therapy. Another technique that Slate has successfully used in therapy is temperature biofeedback. “This uses imagery to bring increased circulation to the hands. You need a therapist to train you to do this. You use imagery like running your hands through hot sand to help raise the hand temperature.”
Next, let’s look more closely at specific health conditions that could be behind constantly cold feet and hands. This includes Reynaud’s syndrome and other conditions that can affect blood circulation.
Many factors can make your hands and feet cold. Your own body has a baseline and its natural response to cold temperatures.
The most common health-related conditions that can cause coldness in your limbs are related to poor blood circulation or nerve damage in your hands or feet.
Here are some of the possibilities:
Anemia is a condition where you have fewer healthy and properly functioning red blood cells than normal. It’s usually caused by an iron deficiency.
When you have an iron deficiency, your red blood cells may not have enough hemoglobin (iron-rich protein) to transport oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. The result can be cold fingers and toes.
What you can do
A blood test can determine if your blood has low levels of iron. Eating more foods that are iron-rich (such as leafy greens) and taking iron supplements can help relieve your cold hands and feet.
When your arteries are narrowed or dysfunctional, it reduces blood flow to your legs and feet. There are several types of arterial disease.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) affects an estimated one third of people over 50 years old who have diabetes mellitus. PAD typically causes arterial wall damage in the lower extremities when buildup of plaque on the walls of blood vessels causes them to narrow.
Primary pulmonary hypertension, which damages the arteries of the lungs, often involves Raynaud’s.
PAD symptoms in addition to cold feet include:
- pain in your legs when you’re exercising
- numbness or pins and needles in your legs or feet
- sores on your legs and feet that heal slowly
Primary pulmonary hypertension symptoms include:
- difficulty breathing
If you have any of these symptoms, along with cold hands and feet, see your doctor. Treating arterial disease early can lead to a better outcome.
- Poor blood circulation. Poor blood circulation is a symptom of diabetes, especially in your extremities, which can make your hands and feet cold.
- Heart disease. Diabetes also increases the risk for heart disease and narrowing of the arteries (due to atherosclerosis), both of which may contribute to cold hands and feet.
- Nerve damage. Nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy), especially in your feet, is a complication of diabetes. It’s caused by high blood sugar levels over a long period of time. One of the early symptoms is a feeling of “pins and needles” in your feet or hands.
What you can do
It’s important to keep your blood sugar levels steady and as close to normal as possible. Also, if you have nerve damage, check your feet carefully for wounds that you might not feel, but could become infected.
Hypothyroidism is a condition where your thyroid is underactive and doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones to keep your body’s metabolic functions running properly. It affects more women than men, and is common over age 60.
Feeling cold is one of the symptoms of hypothyroidism. Other symptoms include fatigue, joint pain and stiffness, dry skin, thinning hair, and depression.
What you can do
A doctor can determine if you have hypothyroidism with blood testing. The main treatment is a synthetic hormone supplement, taken daily.
Raynaud’s syndrome, also known as Raynaud’s phenomenon or Raynaud’s disease, is a condition that makes your fingers or sometimes other parts of your body feel cold or numb. It results from the narrowing of arteries in your hands or feet, which stops the blood from having normal circulation.
Raynaud’s may cause your fingers to change color, turning white, blue, or red. When your blood circulation becomes normal, your hands may tingle, throb, or swell.
Raynaud’s is triggered by cold temperatures or stress. The exact cause of Raynaud’s isn’t fully understood. Raynaud’s is divided into two main types. Most people have primary Raynaud’s, which is called Raynaud’s disease.
When another medical condition causes Raynaud’s, it’s called secondary Raynaud’s, which is also called Raynaud’s phenomenon.
What you can do
Treatments for Raynaud’s include drugs that improve your circulation and widen your blood vessels. But many people don’t need any treatment.
For some people who experience severe Raynaud’s, talking with a doctor about medicines like those for erectile dysfunction and topical nitroglycerin cream might be useful.
Raynaud’s syndrome from another condition
Here are some causes of secondary Raynaud’s:
- Scleroderma, an autoimmune disease that causes hardening of the skin, often is accompanied by Raynaud’s.
- Lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus) is another autoimmune disease that can cause Raynaud’s.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome, which causes numbness and weakness in your hand due to median nerve entrapment, often is accompanied by Raynaud’s.
Vitamin B-12 deficiency
A vitamin B-12 deficiency can give you neurological symptoms including the feeling of cold hands and feet, numbness, or tingling.
Vitamin B-12 is found naturally in meat and dairy products, and is important for maintaining healthy red blood cells. Your body doesn’t make vitamin B-12, so you need to get it from the foods you eat.
Other symptoms of a vitamin B-12 deficiency include:
- movement and balance problems
- pale skin
- shortness of breath
- mouth sores
- cognitive difficulties
What you can do
A blood test can indicate vitamin B-12 deficiency. Treatments can include your taking an oral supplement, receiving vitamin B-12 injections, and changes to your diet.
Smoking tobacco causes injury to your blood vessels throughout the body, which then become narrowed, and can contribute to cold fingers and toes.
Over time, smoking can damage the blood vessels in your heart, making it harder for your heart to pump blood through your body. This especially affects your legs and feet.
What you can do
Get help to quit smoking. There are trained professionals, therapies, and even apps that can help you monitor your own progress.
Other factors that may lead to cold hands and feet include your age, family history, and some medications. In addition:
- If you have a bacterial or viral infection and a fever, you may also have chills.
- Sometimes anxiety can give you cold feet and hands.
- A 2016 study shows a strong connection between chronic indigestion and cold hands and feet.
- A 2018 study looked at the relationship of many chronic conditions and cold hands and feet, including high and low blood pressure and painful periods (dysmenorrhoea). This study also considered cultural influences on how people think about cold hands and feet.
- Babies and older adults have additional risk factors for cold hands and feet.
Babies lose body heat more rapidly in the cold because they have a large body surface area compared to their weight. They may not have a lot of fat under their skin as insulation. Also, their natural body temperature regulation is not fully developed.
For older adults
Older people lose the ability to regulate their body temperature well. The blood vessels in their extremities don’t constrict as easily to keep their core warm.
The metabolism tends to slow with age, and this can contribute as well. They may have an increased risk of cold extremities because of chronic conditions and medications.
If you have cold hands and feet all the time, no matter what the weather is outside or temperature around you, see your doctor. There may be an underlying disease or condition that needs to be treated.
If you have additional symptoms, such as fingers or toes that change color, trouble breathing, or hand or leg pain, see a doctor.
Why do hands and feet get cold even when warm
Are you constantly being told that your hands are cold? The reason may not be only in the cold. We will tell you why hands and feet get cold and how to deal with it.
How to get rid of cold hands and feet – we deal with the causes and offer ways to solve the problem.
Do not self-medicate! In our articles, we collect the latest scientific data and the opinions of authoritative health experts. But remember: only a doctor can diagnose and prescribe treatment.
Why feet are constantly cold even in socks
Circulatory problems are the most common reason why feet get cold when warm. Poor circulation does not saturate the extremities with warm blood. The result is cold feet or fingers. Now let’s figure out what is the cause of poor circulation in order to understand how to deal with it. Top triggers that impair blood circulation:
- high cholesterol;
- heart disease.
First you need to measure your cholesterol and get rid of bad habits. Over time, a proper diet and healthy lifestyle will bring the system back to normal. Heart diseases should be treated only under the supervision of a specialist.
Are your hands and feet cold? A possible cause is anemia, or anemia. The disease occurs when the cardiovascular system cannot produce enough red blood cells. They carry oxygen throughout the body.
But do not rush to diagnose yourself. Along with cold feet and hands, patients also have other symptoms:
- feeling tired;
- shortness of breath;
- pain in the heart.
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Anemia can only be detected with a simple blood test. Treatment is prescribed by a doctor.
Raynaud’s syndrome is a process when the blood vessels overreact to cold temperatures or emotional stress. It is in such conditions that fingers or toes often freeze. Additionally, the skin begins to turn pale in places, redden in places. In most cases, the cause of the syndrome is unknown. In addition, the symptoms can be so minor that people do not even think about visiting a doctor. Experts explain: Raynaud’s syndrome can occur due to smoking, injuries to the arm or leg, or diseases associated with blood pressure.
Severe or regular stress
Another reason why feet get cold even at home is constant stress and anxiety. Cold feet are the body’s natural response to the production of adrenaline and cortisol.
Adrenaline and the “stress hormone” enter the bloodstream and cause vasoconstriction. As a result, blood does not reach the most distant parts of the body, such as the legs and arms. To get rid of cold feet syndrome, try to relax and rest more often.
Thyroid disease also causes cold feet and hands. Low levels of thyroid hormones affect the metabolism. And then, as in a chain, metabolism affects blood circulation, and blood circulation affects body temperature. Violation of the first function is one of the reasons why the feet of women and men get cold. Additional symptoms of hypothyroidism are weight gain, memory problems, and fatigue.
Feet get cold: what to do
If your doctor has ruled out any serious problem, experiment with different ways to get rid of cold feet. Simple tips to help you cope.
Warm up your pajamas and sleep socks. If your feet are cold, always keep them warm. Iron your night set before going to bed and put it on right away. The best material for socks is fleece. It will keep you warm and keep you warm.
Wear thermal underwear. Even in warm winter, a set of thermal underwear is relevant. The extra layer will protect you from the wind and keep your body temperature.
Avoid caffeine and nicotine. Coffee doesn’t warm you up in the same way as cigarettes. Bad habits only worsen blood circulation.
Exercise regularly. Daily exercise improves circulation and warms up the body from head to toe.
No time for sports – do your daily workout. Jump in place, do squats, walk – the movement accelerates the blood and heats up your body.
Use a heating pad. Conventional or electric heating pads can be used for both hands and feet. Take a warming bag with you to bed and enjoy the warmth.
Get a massage. To “drive” the blood to the feet and toes, you can do a sharp massage. Knead and pinch the skin – this will definitely help.
Why hands get cold
The main reasons why hands get cold are neurological, endocrine or cardiovascular health problems. Only a doctor can establish real diseases like anemia, diabetes, lupus, and prescribe treatment.
For healthy people, the natural reaction to cold is vasoconstriction. Coping with the problem is easy – just drink a hot drink without caffeine and warm your hands with wool or fleece.
Neurological changes also lead to cold hands. An increase in adrenaline and cortisol constricts blood vessels. As a result, we feel an unpleasant cold in the fingers. Try to get enough sleep and rest to get rid of cold hands.
Why do my feet and hands get cold at home? One of the reasons is circulatory disorders due to high cholesterol levels. Plaque forms on the walls of the arteries, which spoil healthy blood circulation. Measure your cholesterol levels and avoid junk food loaded with “bad” fats, fast carbohydrates and sodium.
Constantly cold hands – how to solve the problem
Wear mittens, not gloves. Another way is to change gloves for mittens. After all, the design of mittens retains heat better.
Use paraffin wax. Regularly do paraffin therapy at home. The healing power of paraffin improves blood circulation and warms hands better than mittens.
Do not touch frozen food. Wear gloves when you need to take meat out of the freezer.
Always keep your hands warm and wear functional winter accessories. Take care of your hand skin regularly with nourishing creams and baths. To improve the condition of the skin, you can do a light self-massage.
Numbness of the legs and arms – treatment, symptoms, causes, diagnosis
Numbness is an abnormal sensation that can occur in any part of the body, but is most often felt in the arms and legs. The symptom of numbness is often accompanied by tingling, and can range from fairly harmless, such as in the hands on cooling, to a sign of a serious, life-threatening condition. Numbness is a fairly common symptom. Numbness of the extremities is often accompanied by an emotional context with a sense of detachment and a decrease in emotional coloring, which is usually a sign of depression. In a physical context, numbness is usually the result of damage, circulatory problems, or pathological changes to certain nerves.
In addition, there may be periodic bouts of numbness and tingling due to the presence of certain health problems, such as neurosis or a migraine attack. Also, episodes of numbness can occur during attacks of fear caused by the expectation of life-threatening events, and in such cases, numbness is caused by shallow breathing and affects, most often, the fingers and mouth area.
Numbness of the hands is manifested by a feeling of loss of sensation in the hands, this condition is often referred to by patients as “asleep” hands. Numbness may be accompanied by a pins and needles sensation. Often this numbness occurs after sleeping with your hands under your head. Numbness of the hands is usually caused by the presence of carpal tunnel syndrome, in which compression of the median nerve occurs. Most often, carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of a nerve in the carpal tunnel. In addition, hand numbness may be due to trauma, hypothermia, or systemic diseases such as diabetes mellitus. If hand numbness is accompanied by shortness of breath, nausea, palpitations, then this may be a sign of acute, life-threatening conditions and requires emergency medical attention.
Numbness in the legs is a loss of feeling or sensation in the legs, resulting from a disruption in the connection between the peripheral nerves and the central nervous system. Usually, leg numbness is associated with impaired circulation in the lower extremities. Most often, this numbness occurs when sitting cross-legged for a long period of time. In such cases, lifting and walking can get rid of numbness after a certain period of time. But numbness in the legs can also be a sign of serious damage to nerve fibers due to mechanical factors (disc herniation, radiculopathy) or nerve damage due to somatic diseases.
Numbness can be a sign of a wide range of diseases or conditions in which there is blood flow restriction or nerve damage.
Temporary numbness may be associated with any activity that causes prolonged pressure on the nerve(s), such as sitting cross-legged or riding a bicycle for long distances. Numbness can also occur due to moderate or severe orthopedic or vascular conditions, or conditions and diseases that cause damage to the nervous system. In some cases, numbness is a symptom of a life-threatening condition that requires emergency medical attention.
Cardiovascular causes of numbness
Numbness can be caused by a lack of blood flow to a specific area due to conditions such as:
- Arteriovenous malformations
- Buerger’s disease
- Deep vein thrombosis (thrombus in the legs can break off, which can lead to pulmonary embolism in the lungs, heart attack, stroke)
- Diseases of the peripheral arteries (atherosclerosis of the vessels, in which there is a narrowing of the arterial bed).
- Raynaud’s syndrome, in which persistent spasm of peripheral vessels occurs and blood circulation is disturbed in the distal extremities. Vasospasm is usually provoked by cold or sometimes stress.
Orthopedic causes of numbness
Numbness can also be caused by minor or major orthopedic conditions that cause nerve damage:
- Whiplash in the neck
- Bone fractures
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Degenerative diseases of the intervertebral disc
- Herniated disc
- Nerve entrapment compression
Neurological causes of numbness
Numbness due to nerve compression or nerve damage may be due to diseases such as:
- Brain tumors
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Heavy metal poisoning such as lead poisoning
- Multiple sclerosis
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Spinal cord injury or tumors
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
Numbness during pregnancy
Pregnant women face many changes in their body, and numbness is one of them. Some pregnant women develop carpal tunnel syndrome and this is thought to be due to water retention in the body during pregnancy.
As the fetus develops, fluid accumulates in the body, tissues swell, including in the wrist area, compression of the median nerve occurs and carpal tunnel syndrome develops. Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are more pronounced in the morning, as there is an accumulation of fluid in the body at night. As a rule, the syndrome of the carpal tunnel of pregnancy is cured on its own after delivery.
Numbness in children
There are many reasons why children may experience numbness in various parts of the body. Malnutrition, lack of vitamins and minerals can cause numbness in the lower extremities, this is especially true for a lack of B vitamins. Sports injuries can also cause numbness. Therefore, in childhood, parents need to pay attention to children’s complaints of numbness, which lasts more than a few minutes and may be a sign of damage to ligaments, tendons or bone fractures. Often, anxiety in childhood can be a source of numbness of the lips and face.
Numbness is usually due to poor circulation in a certain area or nerve damage. Sensory disturbances (numbness) can also be the result of infection, inflammation, trauma, and other pathological processes. In most cases, numbness is associated with non-life-threatening conditions, but it can also be a sign of a stroke or tumor.
Numbness in the extremities is often associated with pain or may be accompanied by other sensory disturbances such as burning, tingling. Strokes also present with movement and speech disorders. Depending on the cause, numbness may disappear quickly, for example numbness in the hand that occurs when a person is sleeping with his head on his hand, disappears after a few hand movements. Chronic numbness of the leg or arm over a long period of time, usually indicating some level of nerve damage, such as from diabetes mellitus or multiple sclerosis. Chronic numbness of the fingers may be due to nerve entrapment, as is the case with carpal tunnel syndrome. In any case, numbness that lasts for more than a few minutes is worthy of attention and medical attention. And if a person has numbness in the groin area and dysfunction of the bladder and intestines, or there are signs of paralysis, confusion, speech impairment, then in such cases it is necessary to seek emergency medical help.
Symptoms that may accompany numbness:
- Burning sensation
- Frequent urination
- Increased numbness or tingling while walking
- Low back pain
- Muscle spasms
- Neck pain
- Pain in other parts of the body
- Pins and needles sensation
- Hypersensitivity to touch
A number of symptoms that accompany numbness can be a sign of serious conditions and this should be taken into account by the doctor, as emergency medical care and necessary medical procedures are often required.
These symptoms are:
- Lethargy or momentary loss of consciousness
- Labored breathing
- Difficulties in walking
- Loss of control over voluntary urination or defecation
- Visual impairments
- Numbness in the head, neck, back
- Speech disorders (dysarthria)
Diagnosis and treatment
The doctor prescribes an examination plan based on the history of the disease, examination of symptoms and physical examination, which includes both instrumental and laboratory examinations.
To treat numbness, first of all, it is necessary to find out the cause of this symptom. If numbness is associated with circulatory disorders, diabetes or multiple sclerosis, the underlying disease is treated, both with the help of conservative methods of treatment, and with an operative method (for example, in case of vascular diseases).