Dr. Roach: Regular doctor is first stop for arm tingling diagnosis
Dear Dr. Roach: Please help me find relief from the constant tingling in my right arm (from shoulder to hand) that started about a month ago. The doctors I have contacted don’t seem to give it any importance, but I am sure medicine has something that can give me relief. Which specialist should I see? What causes this tingling? Is there anything natural I could use?
Dear F.R.: Tingling in the arm usually means a nerve is being compressed. The nerve most likely is in the neck, the elbow or the hand. A careful physical exam by a regular doctor usually is the right place to start, as it often can identify the cause.
If a physical exam can’t reveal the cause, sometimes further neurological testing may be necessary, so you may be referred to a neurologist. There are rarer causes (I once saw a case of shingles that had pain and tingling months before the rash finally showed up, for example), but it sounds like your doctors haven’t realized how important this symptom is to you. Go back and tell them.
Without knowing the cause, I can’t tell you about treatments, natural or otherwise.
Dear Dr. Roach: I recently read an article in the newspaper about false-positive results on bloodwork and urine analysis. My blood sugar level was 126, and my doctor ordered more testing in three months. I have changed my diet and started walking 1-3 miles per day. I am scheduled for another bloodwork appointment next week. Should I be worried? I have religiously changed my lifestyle for three months.
Dear T.W.: A blood sugar level of 126 is in the normal range if you had just eaten; however, is just on the line of diabetes if you were fasting. False-positives for diabetes are very rare, but an abnormal sugar level still should be confirmed. When you go next week, it is likely that your doctor will order a hemoglobin A1C test, a test used to monitor average blood sugar levels and is used sometimes to make the diagnosis of diabetes. Alternatively, you might undergo a glucose tolerance test, where you drink a standard amount of sugar solution and get your blood tested while fasting and then two hours afterward. These both are highly accurate tests for the diagnosis of diabetes mellitus.
Whether you are found to have normal or borderline blood sugar, or even if you have overt diabetes now, the increased exercise will help you. By getting your muscles working, your body becomes less resistant to insulin, which is the primary problem in Type 2 diabetes.
A good diet for people with diabetes is also a healthy diet for most people. It’s good to have a mixture of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and protein sources, while minimizing refined sugars and processed foods of all kinds.
Careful attention to diet and exercise can prevent diabetes in the first place and help keep it under control if it’s already diagnosed.
Email questions to ToYourGoodHealth@med.cornell.edu.