Numbness describes a loss of sensation in a part of your body. Numbness occurs when nerves are compressed or damaged. Numbness is often accompanied by other sensations such as a pins-and-needles feeling, burning or tingling. Numbness can occur along a single nerve, or it may occur on both sides of the body in a symmetrical pattern. Diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and diabetes mellitus (DM) may cause numbness.
Muscle weakness is a common complaint among many patients. It describes the inability to contract muscles as effectively. Ranging in severity, muscle weakness is generally caused by fatigue or low electrolyte levels and is rarely a sign of a serious condition. However, chronic, unexplained muscle weakness requires attention. Underlying conditions such as muscular dystrophy or other skeletal muscle diseases may exist and may need to be diagnosed.
Cramps are involuntary contractions of muscles, occur in all age groups, and may occur almost anywhere in the body – primarily in the calf and thigh muscles. There are several causes of cramps – insufficient stretching, dehydration, low electrolyte levels, fatigue, pinched nerves, or side effects from drugs such as cholesterol medications. Although cramps range in severity from a mild tightness to an extreme, crippling pain, they are rarely a cause for concern. Unexplained or frequent cramps may reveal a serious medical condition.
Hyperhidrosis is the medical term for excessive sweating. Those who suffer from hyperhidrosis sweat even when the temperature is cool and they did not exercise. This is due to overactive sweat glands, but a definitive cause is unknown. Medical conditions such as anxiety, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and a history of brain or spinal injuries have been associated with hyperhidrosis. A common complaint from patients is that they become nervous because they sweat, and sweat more because they are nervous. Surgical correction is effective.
Tremors are involuntary trembles in parts of the body (shaking) and are not associated with Parkinson’s disease. For those without a genetic mutation, the cause is unknown. Tremors, essential tremors being the most common kind, occur with daily activities such as brushing teeth or hair, writing, or holding a glass of water. Although they are not serious conditions, they can be severe enough to interfere with quality of life. Medications and physical therapy can help keep tremors under control.
Epilepsy is a disorder characterized primarily by recurring seizures. This disorder affects roughly 0.5%-1% of the general population, with 2.5 million Americans suffering from the disease. Epilepsy is caused by a series of disrupted electrical messages in the brain, which lead to the seizures. It can be treated with seizure medication and surgery.
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