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03 Oct 2006

Pins & needles in left hand and arm
I have terrible pins & needles in my left hand and up my arm. I feel naseaus and light headed. Should I be worried? I smoke and I am over weight. My blood pressure is usually low and I do not have diabetes or a cholesterol problem. I am a 39 year old woman,
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Expert
HeartDoc

01 Jan 0001

Dear V,

Without actually examining you it is difficult to say what this is. The nausea may be totally co-incidental, but the lightheadedness may be due to very low BP.

What it MAY be is compression of a nerve at the wrist, called the carpal tunnel syndrome. To make this diagnosis, you will need to see your GP. Carpal tunnel syndrome has very specific symptoms, and there are simple clinical tests which your GP can do when examining you to make this diagnosis. If this is what you have, you will need to be referred to an orthopaedic surgeon, for a minor op to relieve the pressure on the nerve. If this is not done, you could over time, be left with permanent nerve damage to your hand. There is no non-surgical cure for this condition. However, you do not know for sure whether this is what you do have, so please consult for GP to have this sorted out. The other important problem to exclude is a vascular obstruction affecting your hand – again, you need to be examined for this.

Should you be worried? Well, you definitely need to see your GP about your hand. But your smoking and overweight are far more of a serious health risk, especially regarding heart disease, so perhaps you should consider getting your GP’s help with these two things as well.

Good luck,

HeartDoc
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