We tell you about five dangerous signals that your body can send you through your hands. You can determine deviations at home, and then contact a specialist to check the diagnosis.
The human body tends to give signals about what it lacks. And this applies not only to momentary signals like hunger or thirst. The body can report more global processes — for example, problems that need immediate attention. And a simple test that can be done at home, after watching your hands, can indicate the likelihood of serious damage in the future.
“When it comes to signs and symptoms of potentially dangerous conditions in the arms or legs, it is important to consider whether it occurs only on one side or both. Weakness, numbness or pain on one side of the body may be a hint that you have vascular or nerve problems that can lead to serious damage,” says Sean Marchese, a registered nurse at the Mesothelioma Center with 15 years of patient care experience and clinical trial experience in oncology.
According to ETNT experts, there are several signs that you should pay attention to if you think you feel something unusual in your hands or feet.
If you bend your hand and there is pain, if you cannot lift one of your hands or if you feel noticeable discomfort when lifting, if you experience numbness or tingling in your hand— all these are reasons to seek medical help immediately. Here are the most common signs of health problems that can be identified by the hands or feet:
Weakness or numbness in one hand
Dr. Vled Vazni, director of the stroke department at Glendale Memorial Hospital-Dignity Health, spoke about how arm pain can be an imperceptible sign of a stroke: “Stroke is the main cause of disability in the United States and usually increases with age, and everyone should be aware of the warning signs to know when to seek an emergency medical care. The sudden appearance of weakness or numbness in one arm may be a sign or symptom of a stroke. Weakness can be characterized by problems with grip strength, lifting the arm up, or even complete immobility. Numbness usually affects the entire arm, which can feel like a loss of sensation, but can also manifest as tingling.” In this case, it is necessary to immediately call an ambulance, since every minute counts in case of a stroke.
Decreased blood flow in the arms or legs
Diseases of the peripheral arteries lead to a lack of oxygen in them, which can hardly be ignored. Sean Marchese says, “Signs that you may have decreased blood flow in your arms or legs include fatigue, cramps, or feeling heavy during light activity. Many symptoms of peripheral artery disease may not be obvious, for example, it is a weak pulse, cold in the hands or feet, hair loss on the limbs or their discoloration, as well as slowing the growth of nails on the hands and feet. Some symptoms may disappear after a rest, which makes it difficult to detect them, but be vigilant and seek medical help. Your doctor can perform blood tests and imaging to identify signs of peripheral artery disease.”
Uneven nails and reddened fingers as a sign of hypoxia
Here it is worth being especially attentive to those who have had a coronavirus or suspect that the disease could be asymptomatic. “One significant sign to look out for, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, is thickening of the fingers or toes,” warns Marchese. – “Thickening” is a term that describes the softening of the nail bed, convex or red fingertips, curved or unstable nails. These signs usually indicate a chronic low level of oxygen in the blood, but can also be observed in congenital heart defects, cystic fibrosis and other diseases. Lung cancer usually causes thickening as the cancer progresses and oxygen transport decreases. Chronic lung infections or interstitial lung disease that may occur after infection with COVID-19 can also cause thickening. Constant low oxygen levels can cause serious damage to sensitive organs such as the brain, heart and kidneys.”
Ulnar tunnel syndrome
As a rule, an injury can provoke elbow tunnel syndrome, but compression can also be its cause. How can I tell if something is wrong? “If you experience numbness or tingling that extends from about the elbow to the little finger, it may be a sign of irritation of the ulnar nerve, commonly known as ulnar tunnel syndrome,” says neurosurgeon Parham Yashar of Dignity Health Northridge. – Evaluation by your spine specialist or neurologist is important to establish and confirm this diagnosis. Like carpal tunnel syndrome, non-surgical options are always considered first before thinking about surgery.”
Carpal tunnel syndrome
As a rule, those whose work involves fine motor skills of the hand may experience loss of sensitivity and impaired finger function due to weakened vessels and nerves and some other reasons. Often it can be carpal tunnel syndrome. Dr. Parham Yashar also talks about him: “If you have ever noticed that the muscles at the base of the thumb on one hand seem thinner or thinner than on the other hand, this may be a sign that you are experiencing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. An evaluation by your neurologist or an EMG or nerve conduction study may be most helpful to confirm this diagnosis, which can often be treated with non-surgical treatment as well as tunnel release surgery.”