Numb/Burning/Tingling Extremities

What Causes Tingling Extremities?

Tingling extremities can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'troubling' to 'life-threatening'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose tingling extremities, we could:
  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "tingling extremities" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Diabetes II
  • Lyme Disease
  • Metal Toxicity
  • Selenium Need
  • Vitamin B12 Need
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Neuritis/Neuropathy
  • Magnesium Need

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
2hr postprandial glucose > 250mg%
exposure to old building materials
regular odd skin sensations
temple-based headaches
moving white lines across nails
loss of sense of touch
continuing slight limb numbness
moderate unexplained weight loss
metallic taste in mouth
B12 deficiency
hallucinations
African ethnicity
... and more than 110 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of tingling extremities:
Cause Probability Status
Selenium Need 94% Confirm
Hypoglycemia 12% Unlikely
Vitamin B12 Need 30% Unlikely
Magnesium Need 3% Ruled out
Neuritis/Neuropathy 1% Ruled out
Metal Toxicity 1% Ruled out
Lyme Disease 0% Ruled out
Diabetes II 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate unusual skin sensations, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Do you have any numbness, burning, or tingling of the extremities (toes or fingers)?
Possible responses:
→ No / don't know
→ Yes, a little on one hand or foot only
→ Yes, severe on one hand or foot only
→ Yes, a little on two or more hands/feet
→ Yes, severe on two or more hands/feet
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate numb/burning/tingling extremities, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Guillain-Barre Syndrome

Symptoms generally begin in the patient's feet, hands or face, spread to the legs or arms, and increase in intensity as they move towards the center of the body.  They generally appear on both left and right sides of the body.  However, GBS is unpredictable, and cases have been reported in which this "glove and stocking" pattern is not followed.  Instead, motor symptoms or disruptions in the autonomous system may be observed.  GBS may also affect an arm or a leg alone, without spreading to the rest of the body.

Neuritis/Neuropathy

For some individuals burning may become so bad that they feel like the area is on fire, exacerbated by certain movements and activities.

Vitamin B12 Requirement

If vitamin B12 deficiency becomes pronounced, the nervous system can be affected, causing progressive peripheral neuropathy (tingling of the fingers and toes), muscle weakness, staggering, tenderness in the calves, confusion.