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Walk your way to fitness

Most of you must have experienced a slight numbness in your hands, fingers or toes at some point in life.
Hindustan Times | By Dr Anjali Mukerjee, Mumbai
UPDATED ON FEB 09, 2012 06:42 PM IST

Most of you must have experienced a slight numbness in your hands, fingers or toes at some point in life. These symptoms usually reflect poor circulation, but they can also be caused by bigger problems like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, poor circulation,Raynaud's disease or Carpal tunnel syndrome.

Other reasons for this numbness could be an injured or pressurised nerve, sitting or sleeping in the same position for a long time, inflammation, animal or insect bites. Chronic neuropathy (due to diabetes) also leads to a lessened supply of oxygen to the fingers and toes, thus causing numbness.

Increased consumption of alcohol and excessive smoking, deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals, electrolyte imbalance (abnormal levels of sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium) also cause numbness and poor circulation. Prolonged multiple drug therapy and radiation is also responsible for a tingling sensation in fingers and toes.

Tackling numbness in fingers and toes does not involve a textbook formula. The line of treatment depends on the cause. In case of numbness due to mineral deficiencies, balancing the levels of electrolytes via food and supplementation should be the first step to address this condition.

Some research offers evidence that vitamin B12 deficiency may also lead to numbness in fingers and toes. Supplementing the body with vitamin B12 via animal foods like liver, meat, eggs, milk and fish is essential. Other sources of vitamin B12 include seaweed, algae, sprouts and fermented foods.

Remedies for numbness:
Eat more coloured fruits and vegetables. They are rich in flavonoids and strengthen capillaries. Increase your intake of garlic. It is good for circulation.
Take a B Complex pill daily.
Essential fats found in fish oils help improve circulation as they thin the blood.
A deficiency of calcium and magnesium can also cause tingling and numbness.
Make sure you take your supplements daily.
Walking helps blood circulation, so walk for half an hour daily. Also, move your arms in a circle to get your circulation moving.

If your problem does not get sorted after trying these remedies, you may probably have a trapped nerve, in which case you may need to consult a chiropractor or an orthopedist. Reflexology and acupuncture are also known to help eliminate this problem.

It is recommended that you be aware of the symptoms so that you can take appropriate steps to improve quality of life. Numbness may be due to a minor imbalance or could also be a symptom pointing towards a bigger problem. In either case, it needs to be treated.

Dr. Anjali Mukerjee, Nutritionist and Founder, Director - Health Total

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