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What causes persistent tingling sensation in various parts of the body at night?

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Posted on Mon, 9 May 2016
Question: Hello, I', 76 year old male. Over the years I have had slight tingling in various parts of my body. Groin, back, shoulders , hands, feet but very mild. Was not bothersome to me and never mentioned to the doctors when I visit them. However lately mainly at night I am awaken with pretty intense tingling all over. What I have to do is take 2 acetaminophen then I will fall back to sleep. Any blood work(fasting) has not indicated diabetes . What is it??
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Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka (6 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Read below.

Detailed Answer:
I read your question carefully and I understand your concern.

Judging from that description of widespread tinglingling, which doesn't correspond to a single brain or spinal cord area I would say that threatening conditions of central nervous system such as stroke, tumor, infection etc can be safely taken off the table.

That leaves two main possibilities.

The first would be a widespread involvement of peripheral nerves, polyneuropathy. You wisely mention not to have diabetes which is the most common cause of polyneuropathy but that is not the only cause for it, there are many many others. Frustratingly at times even when the diagnosis is clear and all tests are done cause can't be found (25% of cases).

Among other causes of nerve damage would be alcoholism, nutritional deficiencies, exposure to toxins, infections, metabolic changes due to liver and kidney disease etc. So first step should be a neurological physical exam checking for other signs such as lowered reflexes. If the history and exam confirm the suspicion then many tests will be needed, nerve conduction studies, vitamin B12, thyroid function, electrolytes, liver and kidney function, Lyme antibody titer etc. The list can be longer, but it is started with the common ones and than if necessary other test may be done according to clinical suspicion.

The other possible cause might be simply anxiety. Anxiety is a diagnosis which should be considered only when all the rest is excluded so I do not usually mention it right away, but in your case I am doing so because the distribution of those symptoms is somewhat atypical for peripheral neuropathy, so I believe there to be a strong chance of symptoms being due to anxiety.

So I believe you should see a doctor for the about mentioned evaluation. Even if nothing is found and situation is unclear still some symptomatic treatment could be prescribe since the issue is troubling your sleep, treatment with medication like duloxetine or gabapentine, which are effective in both cases, peripheral neuropathy as well as anxiety.

I remain at your disposal for further questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Olsi Taka

Neurologist

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 3667 Questions

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What causes persistent tingling sensation in various parts of the body at night?

Brief Answer: Read below. Detailed Answer: I read your question carefully and I understand your concern. Judging from that description of widespread tinglingling, which doesn't correspond to a single brain or spinal cord area I would say that threatening conditions of central nervous system such as stroke, tumor, infection etc can be safely taken off the table. That leaves two main possibilities. The first would be a widespread involvement of peripheral nerves, polyneuropathy. You wisely mention not to have diabetes which is the most common cause of polyneuropathy but that is not the only cause for it, there are many many others. Frustratingly at times even when the diagnosis is clear and all tests are done cause can't be found (25% of cases). Among other causes of nerve damage would be alcoholism, nutritional deficiencies, exposure to toxins, infections, metabolic changes due to liver and kidney disease etc. So first step should be a neurological physical exam checking for other signs such as lowered reflexes. If the history and exam confirm the suspicion then many tests will be needed, nerve conduction studies, vitamin B12, thyroid function, electrolytes, liver and kidney function, Lyme antibody titer etc. The list can be longer, but it is started with the common ones and than if necessary other test may be done according to clinical suspicion. The other possible cause might be simply anxiety. Anxiety is a diagnosis which should be considered only when all the rest is excluded so I do not usually mention it right away, but in your case I am doing so because the distribution of those symptoms is somewhat atypical for peripheral neuropathy, so I believe there to be a strong chance of symptoms being due to anxiety. So I believe you should see a doctor for the about mentioned evaluation. Even if nothing is found and situation is unclear still some symptomatic treatment could be prescribe since the issue is troubling your sleep, treatment with medication like duloxetine or gabapentine, which are effective in both cases, peripheral neuropathy as well as anxiety. I remain at your disposal for further questions.