Tingling, that tingling sensation in the body, is usually not serious and quite trivial, if it is transient. However, if this sensation persists, several pathologies can be hidden behind numbness symptoms. When should tingling be taken seriously?
What are the symptoms and signs that should raise an alarm?
Nothing is more common than to feel “ants” in the legs, feet, hands, arms, when we have remained for example in the same position for a certain time. This is only a sign that our blood circulation has played a little trick on us while we were immobile. Concretely, a nerve has been compressed, then when we move again, the blood returns and the nerve relaxes.
However, if the tingling persists and is repeated, this sensation can be a sign of a wide variety of pathologies, including neurological or venous disorders.
In the case of repeated tingling, when a leg no longer responds or when there are vision problems, it is advisable to speak to your doctor quickly.
What can be the serious causes and pathologies of tingling or paresthesia?
In general, the causes of tingling are of nervous and/or vascular origin.
Here are some examples (not exhaustive) of pathologies that can be the cause of repeated tingling.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
The median nerve at the wrist is compressed in this syndrome, inducing tingling in the fingers. The reason for this is usually sensitization due to particular activities in the hand: musical instrument, gardening, computer keyboard. The symptoms are: difficulty in grasping objects, pain in the palm of the hand, sometimes up to the shoulder. Women, especially during pregnancy or after the age of 50, are the most affected.
Pathology related to the compression of a nerve root, it is linked to osteoarthritis, a disc damage, for example. Our roots take place in the spine, which has 31 pairs of spinal roots, including 5 lumbar. These roots start from the spinal cord and reach the extremities. More frequent in the lumbar and cervical spine, this pathology can occur at all levels of the spine. Its symptoms are: weakness or partial paralysis, numbness or electric shock, pain when the root is put under tension.
A lack of magnesium can cause tingling in the feet, hands, and also in the eyes. Magnesium, which is known to help relax muscles and the body in general, is often deficient in times of stress. Also, an iron deficiency can cause intense tingling in the legs, accompanied by shaking. This is called restless legs syndrome, affecting 2 to 3% of the population.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome
A rare condition, this syndrome is caused by compression of the tibial nerve, a peripheral nerve of the lower limb. It can be contracted by repeated stress during activities such as walking, running, by too much weight, tendonitis, and inflammation of the ankle. The tarsal tunnel is located on the inside of the ankle. The symptoms are: tingling in the foot (tibial nerve), pain and burning in the area of the nerve (especially at night), muscle weakness.
An autoimmune disease, this pathology may begin with tingling in the legs or arms, usually when the subject is between 20 and 40 years old. Other symptoms are electric shocks or burns in the limbs, often during an inflammatory outbreak. Women are the most affected by this pathology.
Peripheral arterial disease
This disease occurs when the arterial blood flow is obstructed, most often in the legs. The causes are arthrosclerosis (formation of lipid deposits in the walls of the arteries), smoking, diabetes, hypertension, lipid imbalance (cholesterol, etc.).this pathology, in the most severe form and not treated early enough, can result in the amputation of the leg. Symptoms can be: pain or burning in the legs, pale skin, numbness, coldness of the limb, cramps.
Due to poor venous circulation, prolonged immobility (standing) can cause tingling in the legs. This can lead to chronic venous insufficiency, resulting in heavy legs, oedema, phlebitis and venous ulcers. Compression stockings prescribed by the doctor can help you to promote blood circulation in the legs towards the heart.
Stroke (cerebral vascular accident)
This stroke can occur after experiencing tingling in the face, arm or leg, a signal that the brain is no longer receiving proper blood flow. If this is accompanied by difficulty speaking, headaches or partial paralysis, call 15 immediately.
If you are unsure whether the symptoms described above are present, do not hesitate to consult your doctor, who will be able to assess your condition and give you the appropriate treatment.
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