Loss of Feeling (Numbness)

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Overview

Numbness refers to the absence of sensation or feeling in a certain area of the body. While it may be a symptom of a range of medical disorders, it is most often associated with a problem with the body’s nerves.

The great majority of numbness episodes do not pose a danger to one’s life. In more severe situations, the inability to feel pain may result in burns if the individual is unable to feel the agony of extreme heat or a loss of awareness of what is happening in different regions of the body. Additionally, it might be an indication of a dangerous underlying ailment, such as multiple sclerosis or diabetes that requires immediate attention.

Doctors analyze the loss of feeling based on medical history, symptoms, and physical examination including testing touch, temperature, reflexes, and muscle function. The doctor will ask about the affected body part and the kind of numbness the person is feeling. Different tests that are performed to identify the cause of numbness include imaging testing, blood tests, nerve conduction studies, and electromyography.

The treatment for numbness differs depending on the underlying reason. The ultimate objective of therapy is to repair the disease that is producing numbness in the affected area. Some of the most popular therapies for numbness are as follows:

·         Nerve pain medicines

·         Controlling blood sugar levels in diabetics

·         Physical therapy activities to help strengthen the spine or make mobility more comfortable

·         Surgery to remove a tumor or to correct an issue with the spine

Causes

Numbness is a symptom that occurs when a person loses sensation in a specific portion of their body. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, you may have tingling sensations all over your body, as if you were being poked with a large number of little needles.

It is typical to have numbness in legs or arms, which may be caused by a number of various disorders ranging from neurological injury to sensory-related conditions. In certain cases, numbness in hands and feet may even signal a medical emergency, such as a stroke, which should be treated immediately.

When your legs get numb, the reason might be anything from prolonged sitting in one position to nerve loss caused by diabetes.

Numbness in the feet is most often caused by the poor posture that puts pressure on nerves or reduces blood flow in the lower limbs, which is the most frequent cause of transient numbness.

Numbness is caused by nerve injury, inflammation, or compression. A slipped disk in the back or carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrist are examples of conditions in which a single nerve branch or numerous nerves are damaged.

Diabetes and some chemicals (including chemotherapy medicines and alcohol) may damage the longer, more sensitive nerve fibers (such as those that provide sensation to the feet) and result in numbness in the affected areas.

High blood sugar levels may cause nerve damage throughout the body if left untreated for an extended length of time. The numbness usually begins in the toes and then gradually progresses up the leg or arm. It frequently affects both feet at the same time. The sensation of numbness in your hands and arms may also occur, and you may find that it is worse at night.

When numbness affects nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord, it is most typically associated with a loss of feeling in the arms, legs, hands, and feet.

A stroke may cause numbness on the left side of the body, which is a warning indication. A stroke is defined by an abrupt loss of sensation and strength on one side of the body. Numbness on the right side of the body may also indicate a stroke.

Other medical conditions that cause the individual to feel numb are:

·         Tumor

·         Insect bite

·         Arthritis

·         Exposure to toxin or poison

·         Kidney disease

When to see a doctor

If numbness is followed by any of the following symptoms, seek immediate medical assistance.

·         Confusion

·         Inability to maintain control over bladder and bowel motions

·         Consciousness loss

·         Breathing difficulty

·         Inability to feel emotions in the face

·         Paralysis

·         Modifications in speech or eyesight

·         Weakness that occurs suddenly or unexpectedly

In addition, seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following:

·         Numbness may affect a whole arm, a whole leg, or one complete side of the body at the same time

·         Numbness in head

·         Numbness in face

·         Numbness happens when the body’s temperature falls below a particular threshold

·         Acute numbness or weakness that spreads swiftly to other parts of the body

·         Feeling pins and needles all over the body