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Numbness in the fingers is one of those seemingly innocent ailments that can be a sign of a serious illness, especially if they are repeated or accompanied by other signals. Find out what impaired sensation in the fingers can mean. What are the causes of numb fingers?

Numbness in the fingersis paresthesia, i.e. a misguided feeling. Paresthesia can be experienced as a tingling sensation, burning sensation, disturbance of the sensation in the fingers and toes, caused for example by keeping them in one position for a long time; usually passes when the limbs are moved. Paresthesia can also signal deficiencies in calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, and vitamin B12. When it occurs frequently and there is no improvement in supplementation of elements and attempts to stimulate the joints with exercise, one of the following diseases should be ruled out.

  • Peripheral neuropathy- damage to peripheral nerves resulting from pressure, ischemia or inflammation of the nerve. It causes a disturbance in the transmission of information along the nerve fibers, resulting in numbness, tingling, pain or sensory disturbances. Neuropathies are sometimes the result of degenerative diseases of the spine and joints, injuries of the limbs, and even effort burdening the joints. They are diagnosed by many tests: X-ray, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography.
  • Diseases of blood vessels - atherosclerosis and venous insufficiency disrupt the blood supply to the limbs. In addition to numbness, they cause a cold feeling of fingers and hands. The doctor may order a Doppler ultrasound to check the blood flow in the vessels.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis- wrist joints and small joints of the fingers attack the inflammation, which puts pressure on the surrounding nerves. Numbness and tingling in the fingers, as well as morning stiffness in the joints, are one of the first symptoms of the disease. Tests helpful in the assessment of the early stage of RA include: rheumatoid factor determination, ESR, CRP, blood count, ultrasound.
  • Multiple Sclerosis- the disease leads to damage and loss of the myelin sheaths of nerves in the central nervous system and spinal cord. Numbness of the fingers is accompanied by imbalance, motor coordination, vision disorders. In diagnostics, it is used, inter alia, neurological examination involving, among others checking the occurrence of changes in reflexes, speech, motor coordination, muscle strength, maintaining body balance,the functioning of the sensory organs, as well as electromyography, magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and spinal cord, and examination of the cerebrospinal fluid.
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome- the immune system attacks the myelin sheaths of the nerves, damaging them. Disturbed sensation in the fingers and toes is one of the first symptoms of a disease that leads to muscle weakness and even paralysis. For diagnosis, the cerebrospinal fluid is examined and electromyography is performed.
  • Diabetes- one of its complications is diabetic neuropathy, a disease of the nerves caused by elevated blood glucose levels, which damages blood vessels and nerve fibers, causing, among other things, sensory disturbance. The diagnosis of diabetes is made on the basis of a blood sugar test.
  • Alcoholic disease- many years of alcohol abuse may result in damage to the peripheral nervous system, the so-called alcoholic polyneuropathy. Finger paresthesia and is a symptom of nerve fiber damage and vitamin B12 deficiency. Typical symptoms include craving for alcohol, alcohol memory gaps, and alcohol psychosis.
Worth knowing

Quick help

If the numbness in your hands is due to overwork, this simple exercise will help relax the tense muscles and tendons in your wrists: Rest your hands on the desk and shift your weight onto them. Hold on to ten, then change the position of your hands. Repeat 3 times. Do several such exercises during the working day.

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