Are your hands falling asleep? Then you can have any of these diseases

We have all had the feeling that our hands or feet fall asleep. It is that tingling or tingling that happens, for example, when we spend a lot of time in the same position with crossed legs, or when we sleep with the arm under the body and it becomes numb.

In medical terms, this phenomenon is known as paresthesia. As described by the National Institute of Health of the United States, transient paresthesia "happens when sustained pressure is exerted on a nerve and the sensation fades quickly once pressure is relieved." In these cases, there is no need to worry. It is extremely normal.

However, it is important to make a wake-up call when our hands fall asleep for no apparent reason and without having exerted any kind of pressure on them. And especially, if it is recurring.

In that case, it can be a symptom of diseases -some of them serious-, so it is important to pay attention to how the symptom develops and to the appearance of some other strange phenomenon in the body.

Diseases that can make your hands go numb

Carpal tunnel syndrome

This syndrome occurs because there is excessive pressure on the median nerve, which is located on the wrist and allows for sensitivity and movement of the hand. Then not only can the hand fall asleep, but there can also be pain, numbness and weakness.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be a disease of birth or be caused by bad movements of the hand, or by working with vibrating elements.

Although it has not been shown that tasks such as writing on the computer, playing instruments or playing sports are direct causes of carpal tunnel syndrome, they can inflame the nerve and produce similar symptoms.

(You may also be interested: Hand problems: When are they due to the carpal tunnel? Remedies to relieve pain)

Guyon's canal syndrome

It is a rare neurological syndrome produced by the entrapment of the ulnar nerve as it passes through Guyón's canal, at the wrist.

As with the carpal tunnel, Guyon's canal syndrome does not have paresthesia as its only symptom. There is also usually weakness in the hands, difficulty in flexing the fingers, and pain that goes from the elbow to the hand.

Herniated disc

Disc or disc herniation is a lesion in the soft, gelatinous material (disc) that lies between each of the vertebrae of the human body. It is usually caused by the logical wear and tear of aging, and does not always cause symptoms. In addition, depending on which part of the column the injury is present, the discomforts that it causes will be different.

When your hands fall asleep, it may be a disk hernia in the cervical area.

(You may also be interested: Why pain in the neck is becoming more common and how you can overcome it)


Diabetes has many symptoms, it is a disease that affects the body at many levels. Among them, diabetic neuropathies are a set of nervous disorders caused by diabetes.

One is the tingling in the extremities. The truth is that it is usually more common in the lower extremities (feet and legs), but it can also cause the hands to fall asleep.

Circulatory problems

The circulatory problems often bring as a symptom the tingling of the hands. If this is the reason that generates it, surely you also have other symptoms.

For example, it is common for hands besides being asleep, are always cold. Sometimes they can even appear swollen.

It is important to consult a doctor if you suspect that you have circulatory problems, because they can lead to more serious diseases.

Vitamin B deficiency

A deficiency of B vitamins can also cause your hands to go numb. Many times it occurs due to lack of vitamin B12, which is common in people who have a vegetarian or vegan diet. Since it is naturally obtained from foods of animal origin, they may need vitamin reinforcement.

In addition, there may be a lack of vitamin B9. This can be obtained from vegetable sources, especially green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin and cereals.

(You may also be interested: 5 foods that you should try if your hands are always cold)

As always, the ideal is to consult a doctor if your hands fall asleep so you can find the causes.

Important: It should be clarified that Bioguía does not give medical advice or prescribe the use of techniques as a form of treatment for physical or mental problems without the advice of a doctor, either directly or indirectly. In the case of applying for this purpose some information of this site, Bioguía does not assume the responsibility of those acts. The intention of the site is only to offer information of a general nature to help in the search of development and personal growth.


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Mayo Clinic

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