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What does numbness in the hands and tongue indicate?

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Posted on Tue, 22 May 2018
Question: I am a 65 year old female. In the past two months I've been experiencing progressive numbness and tingling in my left hand. Initially, the numbness was just in the tip of my thumb; now it is my thumb, index and middle finger and progressing down my hand. Additionally, I've noticed the same in my right hand but localized in my thumb and index finger. Finally in the last week I've been experiencing similar numbness on the tip of my tongue.
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Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
may be peripheral neuropathy

Detailed Answer:
HI, thanks for using healthcare magic

Numbness and other altered sensations are due abnormal function of the nerves in the particular area.
This is called neuropathy.

It can be temporary or permanent and there are different possible causes.

Some of the more common causes are--(1) vitamin b12 and folate deficiency
(2)Diabetes
(3)trauma to the nerves eg arthritis of the neck or shoulders can compress or cause changes to the nerves to the hands
(4)abnormal levels of vitamin b6
(5)thyroid disease
(6)liver or kidney disease
(7)infection such as shingles
(8)exposure to toxins
(9)neurological conditions such as stroke
(10)autoimmune diseases such as ms

An x ray of the neck and shoulders and blood tests (Eg thyroid hormone levels, kidney and liver screen, screen for diabetes, complete blood count, vitamin levels) would be needed for assessment.

In some persons, the symptoms stop on their own

If they continue or worsen, you would need assessment.

There are medications that can help reduce numbness and other altered sensations.

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Michelle Gibson James

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 16811 Questions

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What does numbness in the hands and tongue indicate?

Brief Answer: may be peripheral neuropathy Detailed Answer: HI, thanks for using healthcare magic Numbness and other altered sensations are due abnormal function of the nerves in the particular area. This is called neuropathy. It can be temporary or permanent and there are different possible causes. Some of the more common causes are--(1) vitamin b12 and folate deficiency (2)Diabetes (3)trauma to the nerves eg arthritis of the neck or shoulders can compress or cause changes to the nerves to the hands (4)abnormal levels of vitamin b6 (5)thyroid disease (6)liver or kidney disease (7)infection such as shingles (8)exposure to toxins (9)neurological conditions such as stroke (10)autoimmune diseases such as ms An x ray of the neck and shoulders and blood tests (Eg thyroid hormone levels, kidney and liver screen, screen for diabetes, complete blood count, vitamin levels) would be needed for assessment. In some persons, the symptoms stop on their own If they continue or worsen, you would need assessment. There are medications that can help reduce numbness and other altered sensations. I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions