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Causes of Numbness in Hands & Fingers

Overview

Numbness in the hands and fingers is most often caused by irritation or pressure on a peripheral nerve that extends from the arm to the hands and fingers. It can also be a symptom of a more serious condition, according to MayoClinic.com. Numbness in the hands and fingers may indicate a medical emergency if it occurs suddenly, is felt in the entire arm or is accompanied by other symptoms, such as dizziness or confusion.

Primary Amyloidosis

Primary amyloidosis is a rare, serious condition characterized by the abnormal production of antibodies, a type of protein fiber, by plasma cells. The protein fibers accumulate in body tissues and organs, which causes the affected area to become stiff. When the tissues and organs become stiff, they cannot function properly. The most commonly affected organs include the tongue, intestines, muscles, nerves, skin, heart, spleen and kidneys, according to MedlinePlus. Numbness in the hands and fingers is a common symptom of primary amyloidosis. Other symptoms include fatigue, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, skin changes, difficulty swallowing, body swelling, weight loss, diarrhea, joint pain and general weakness. Primary amyloidosis is treated with chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation.

Raynaud's Disease

Raynaud’s disease is a rare disorder that causes spontaneous constriction of the arteries. When the arteries constrict, blood flow is reduced. Lack of blood flow results in numbness. Most people with Raynaud’s disease experience the numbness in the fingers, but some cases experience numbness in the toes. Other symptoms of Raynaud’s disease include a white or blue color in the skin, redness, tingling and burning. The cause of Raynaud’s disease is unknown, but constriction triggers include extreme temperatures and stressful emotions, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Raynaud’s disease does not have a cure, but treatment consists of lifestyle changes and medications. In severe cases, surgery may be needed.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The carpal tunnel is passageway located at the palm side of the wrist that protects the core nerve to the hand, called the median nerve, and the tendons that allow the fingers to bend. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when pressure is placed on the nerve, according to MayoClinic.com This pressure, which is usually due to inflammation, causes numbness in the hands and fingers, pain and weakness of the hand. The cause of carpal tunnel syndrome can be arthritis, diabetes, hormone disorders or repetitive use of the hand and wrist. Treatment for carpal tunnel can usually be done without surgery and includes anti-inflammatory medications and the use of wrist splint. In severe cases, surgery may be needed.

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