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Partial Or Complete Loss Of Sensation - What Can Lead To It?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Devshi Visana 89% (17 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Medicine, DM - Neurology
Neurologist, Ahmedabad  •  13 years experience
Partial Or Complete Loss Of Sensation - What Can Lead To It?

Loss of sensation refers to numbness in a particular or several areas of the body. Individuals suffering from the condition becomes incapable of feeling touch, temperature, pain, and vibration in the affected regions of the body. When this happens, it may lead to issues with balance, walking, driving and coordination which makes them more susceptible to injuries. If numbness is present for a long span of time, it may cause a host of issues. Such people are not able to notice infections, ulcers, and injuries since they are not able to feel pain at all which in most cases leads to further complications.

How does the pathway for sensation work?
In order to feel the normal sensations, the sensory receptors are supposed to detect the information in as well as around the body. These receptors should send the signal through the sensory nerves and the nerve roots which are formed by joining together the sensory nerves into thick and short branches. It may also reach through the brain stem and to the area of the brain which is in charge of perceiving and interpreting the sensory signals.

What are the causes of partial or complete loss of sensation?

  • Different conditions can lead to numbness, and they may include:
  • Blocking or reducing the supply of blood to the nerves present in the body resulting from a stroke
  • Damage in the pathway for sensation which may result from sudden injuries or hereditary problems affecting the nerves called Friedriech ataxia.
  • Compression in the pathways of the nerve or infection in the nerve which typically occurs in HIV infection or Lyme disease
  • Metabolic abnormalities which occur in high blood sugar, vitamin B12 deficiency, and arsenic poisoning.

Sometimes, excessive pressure on various parts of the neural pathway may lead to loss of sensation. When a person repeats the same movements over and over again, it leads to internal swelling which may cause partial or complete loss of sensation. Herniation or rupture of the disk in the spine can cause osteoarthritis or narrowing of the passageway of the spinal cord. Lastly, an injury or a tumor or formation of pus near the spinal cord may result in this condition as well.

What are the treatment options for partial or complete loss of sensation?
When the sensations are impaired, the treatments for the problem depends on the cause of the problem. Sometimes, doctors recommend painkillers for treating abnormal sensations. One must also practice careful and proper foot care which also includes cutting the toenails in a podiatrist's office. But in case a pinched nerve or sciatica is the cause of impaired sensation, surgery can help in relieving the conditions to a great extent.

Thus, a loss of sensation is not to be overlooked and a doctor is to be consulted at the earliest to avoid complications. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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