What causes Head Numbness?
Head Numbness: A common symptom of stroke or other brain injury
The term “head” refers to the top part of your skull, which contains the brain. When a person suffers from a stroke or any kind of brain injury, the blood flow to certain parts of the brain stops completely.
This results in severe problems with thinking and judgment.
In most cases, the symptoms of head injury are temporary and disappear within a few days. However, some people suffer from permanent damage to their brains due to these kinds of injuries.
These individuals may experience mental retardation, memory loss, personality changes and even death if they do not receive proper treatment immediately after the incident.
If you have ever suffered from a brain injury or stroke yourself then you will understand how terrible it feels when your thoughts suddenly become very slow and confused. You might start to feel like you are having a bad day.
How does Head Injury Cause Head Numbness?
When the blood supply to certain areas of the brain stop, there is no longer enough oxygenated blood flowing through them and this leads to a drop in temperature. This effect is known as hypothermia. Hypothermia can cause various symptoms such as headache, confusion, drowsiness and sometimes even unconsciousness.
Sometimes, the brain cools down so much that the cells start to suffer from hypoxia, which is a severe lack of oxygen in the brain. When this happens, you may start to experience numbness, tingling and pins and needles on various parts of your body.
This is because the nerve signals become severely disrupted due to lack of oxygen.
What are the causes and risk factors of Head Numbness?
The most common cause of head numbness is a brain injury or stroke. Other causes include:
1. Carbon monoxide poisoning
2. Lack of oxygen supply to the brain due to drowning
3. Loss of blood flow to the brain during a heart attack
4. Severe head injury
5. Severe concussion
6. Dementia, particularly vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
7. Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
8. Space occupying lesions in the brain, such as a brain tumor or a blood clot
9. Exposure to harmful chemicals
10. Alcoholism: Excessive alcohol intake can lead to numbness and tingling in some parts of the body
11. Hypothyroidism: In this condition, the thyroid produces less thyroid hormone.
This leads to fatigue and many other symptoms
Is Head Numbness a sign of something serious?
Most of the time head numbness is not a sign of anything serious. It usually resolves itself within a few weeks or months at the most. This kind of numbness may occur suddenly in one half of your face, spreading to the other side after a few hours.
There are times when the numbness can be caused by certain risk factors such as smoking. In some cases, head numbness may be a warning sign of a serious underlying condition such as multiple sclerosis or a brain tumor.
If you notice that the tingling and numbness spread from one side of your face to the other, if it spreads to your limbs or if it lasts longer than a few months then you should seek medical advice immediately.
How is Head Numbness diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask you about your medical history and do a physical examination. In some cases, he or she may refer you to a neurologist for further testing. You may undergo various tests such as:
1. Blood tests
2. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan: This is the most useful test to find brain tumors, lesions or any other abnormal tissue in the brain.
3. Computerized Tomography scan (CT scan): This helps your doctors to look for fractures, bleeding or blood clots.
4. Head X-ray: This is useful in the early detection of any bone abnormalities.
5. Lumbar puncture (LP) also known as spinal tap: In this test, a needle is inserted into the lower back, into the spinal column to extract cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
The presence of certain proteins in this fluid can help your doctors to diagnose various conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, spinal meningitis and others.
Do I need treatment for Head Numbness?
Head numbness that is caused by a minor injury or is not severe will often go away within a few days. If the numbness lasts longer than a month, you should see your doctor because it could be a sign of a more serious condition.
Treatment of head numbness depends upon the exact cause. For example, if a blood clot is causing the numbness, then it can be treated with blood thinners.
Lifestyle changes to prevent Head Numbness:
1. Eat a healthy diet to reduce your risk of developing serious conditions such as hypertension and diabetes.
2. Avoid risky behaviors such as drug abuse which can damage the brain and lead to serious conditions such as strokes and tumors.
3. Stop smoking to reduce the risk of stroke and brain tumors.
Smokers are three times more likely to suffer from this condition.
4. Get vaccinated to prevent infections that can lead to meningitis and encephalitis, conditions that may cause numbness in any part of the body.
These vaccinations are especially important if you live in an area where these diseases are common.
5. Manage stress properly and get adequate sleep because both these factors can increase your risk of developing multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune disorders.
6. Follow a healthy lifestyle to prevent cardiovascular disease and obesity, both of which can increase your risk of developing diabetes.
Diabetes increases your risk of developing nerve damage and can lower the ability of your body to heal itself.
7. Seek immediate medical attention if you suffer from head numbness, especially if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, fever, confusion or severe headache.
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