Ants in the hands: all you need to know about paresthesia


Ants in the hands: all you need to know about paresthesia

The feeling of ants in the hands is characteristic of paresthesia, a disorder of sensation. Usually, this tingling is due to poor posture but can sometimes be the result of an underlying disease or the harbinger of stroke.

Ants in the hands: the symptom of paresthesia

Paresthesia: what is the feeling of ants in the hands?

Paresthesia is the scientific term for the feeling of tingling and numbness. It is defined as a disorder of touch, sensitivity and sensations. It can have two major explanations:

  • a dysfunction in the central nervous system,
  • a disorder in the peripheral nerves present in different tissues.

Paresthesia: how to recognize tingling in the hands?

In the hands, paresthesia is manifested by tingling which can occur in the left hand as well as in the right hand. They can be felt in different ways:

  • have ants in their hands;
  • feel tingling in the fingers;
  • feel numbness in the hand;
  • perceive a burning sensation in the hand.

Paresthesia: should you worry about tingling?

In most cases, the tingling in the hands is not serious. These tingling fades quickly. However, sometimes these abnormal sensations in the hand are the result of an underlying disease or the warning sign of a stroke.

Tingling in the hands: causes of varying severity

Tingling caused mainly by poor posture

In the majority of cases, tingling in the hand is due to bad posture. An improper position of the upper limb can cause compression of the peripheral nerves causing the sensation of ants in the hand.

For example, it is not uncommon to feel ants in a hand during the night or when waking up. In this case, the tingling can be explained by a bad position of the arm.

Tingling sensations caused by a disorder in the body

Although tingling in the hands is usually caused by poor posture, in some cases it can be a sign of a disorder in the body. These abnormal sensations can be a consequence of:

  • alcoholism;
  • taking certain medications;
  • exposure to certain toxic substances;
  • certain nutritional deficiencies, such as hypoglycemia.

Tingling can also be a symptom of an underlying illness, such as:

  • THEstroke (Stroke) and transient cerebral ischemia: The onset of tingling in the hand and arm is one of the warning signs of stroke and transient cerebral ischemia. Prompt medical attention is essential if the tingling is accompanied by other symptoms such as speech and balance problems.
  • Le diabetes and diabetic neuropathy: One of the complications of diabetes is diabetic neuropathy affecting the nerves. This disease can cause tingling, numbness, and even pain in the hands.
  • La spasmophilia : Spasmophilia usually results in a set of symptoms associated with an anxiety state. Symptoms include the perception of ants in the hands and in other areas of the body.
  • La multiple sclerosis : Multiple sclerosis affects the central nervous system and can cause tingling in the hands.
  • Le Raynaud’s syndrome : Raynaud’s disease or syndrome corresponds to a blood circulation disorder at the ends. It is manifested by paleness and numbness in the hands and fingers.
  • Le carpal tunnel syndrome : It results in weakness of the wrist, numbness and tingling in the hand and fingers. This syndrome usually occurs following certain repeated movements.

Ants in the hands: a sign not to be overlooked

While tingling is usually not serious, in some cases it can:

  • gain in intensity, with a sensation of paralysis of the hand;
  • become recurrent, with increasing frequency;
  • extend to the entire upper limb.

The risk of complications and the course of these tingling sensations depends above all on the cause of these sensations.

Tingling: a warning signal from the body

What to do in case of tingling in the hands?

Physical examination. In the majority of cases, the tingling in the hands is not serious. However, certain signs should alert and require the advice of a health professional:

  • persistent tingling;
  • frequent tingling.

Emergency examination. An urgent medical consultation becomes essential if:

  • tingling is sudden and occurs in only one arm;
  • tingling is accompanied by other symptoms including speech disturbances, balance problems and dizziness.

These are the hallmarks of a stroke, or heart attack. Emergency medical services must be contacted by dialing 15 or 112.


How to treat or relieve tingling in the hands?

In most cases, tingling in the hands does not require medical treatment. They quickly fade.

However, if the tingling is caused by an underlying disease, then medical treatment may be prescribed. This depends on the characteristics, severity and course of the disease diagnosed.

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