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How is paresthesia diagnosed?

A careful history of the patient is needed for a diagnosis of paresthesias. The medical history should focus on the onset, duration, and location of symptoms. The history may also reveal current related medical problems and recent or past exposure to drugs, toxins, infection, or trauma. The family medical history may suggest a familial disorder. A work history may reveal repetitive motion, chronic vibration, or industrial chemical exposure.

The physical and neurological examination tests for distribution of symptoms and alterations in reflexes, sensation, or strength. The distribution of symptoms may be mapped by successive stimulation over the affected area of the body.

Lab tests for paresthesia may include blood tests and urinalysis to detect metabolic or nutritional abnormalities. Other tests are used to look for specific suspected causes. Nerve conduction velocity tests, electromyography, and imaging studies of the affected area may be employed. Nerve biopsy may be indicated in selected cases.


More information on paresthesia

What is paresthesia? - Paresthesia (paraesthesia) is a sensation of tingling, pricking, or numbness of the skin with no apparent physical cause.
What causes paresthesia? - Paresthesias are caused by disturbances in the function of neurons in the sensory pathway. Peripheral disturbances are the most common cause of paresthesias.
What're the symptoms of paresthesia? - Paresthesia is a burning or prickling sensation. Other symptoms may accompany paresthesias, depending on the type and severity of the nerve disturbance.
How is paresthesia diagnosed? - A careful history of the patient is needed for a diagnosis of paresthesias. Distribution of symptoms may also aid diagnosis of the underlying disease.
What's the treatment for paresthesia? - Treatment of paresthesias depends on the underlying cause. Several alternative treatments are available to help relieve symptoms of paresthesia.
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