Numb fingertips

I’ve been working on a house with no heat for the past few months. Today after lunch a few of my fingertips started to get numb, which seemed a little odd to me. The cold type of numbness, similar to being outdoors in freezing weather without good gloves. The temperature inside was probably 45 degrees or so, maybe 40. But I’ve been working in temperatures colder than today on many other occasions recently including all morning. The only difference about today was my BG was elevated when it happened, about 170. ( I screwed up my lunch bolus.) My BG when I am working is usually pretty flat or dropping.

Does a temporary spike of BG contribute to numb fingers in cold weather?


Which fingers?

Is your pinky finger okay but thumb, index, and middle fingers were numb?

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Were they white as well, so that they weren’t getting blood circulation? I don’t know if temporary BG spikes can contribute to this. I’ve not noticed this in myself. Prolonged (even for a few hours) high BGs does cause tingling in my fingers but that is not numbness.

Hwr, I have Raynauds Syndrome which causes such numbness at temps even in the 60s F. It isn’t a serious condition for me, but you definitely want to warm up those fingers to get the blood flowing as quickly as possible.


No whiteness, and it was limited to the three middle finger tips. It felt just like the numbness/tingling I’ve felt occasionally in the past when outdoors on a very cold/freezing day.

It surprised me because I had been working in similar temp conditions for months. Carpentry indoors, working with my hands. The only correlation I could find was this was the first BG spike I can remember happening during these conditions.

I have an endo spot. In Feb and will bring it up.

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It is your carpal tunnel.

When you work with your hands on things like carpentry, the muscles in your forearm and hands get worked hard. This can cause inflammation in the carpal tunnel and the median nerve gets compressed which causes numbness.

If it was temperature related you would notice it on your pinky finger. But if you do not notice it on the pinky, it is probably carpal tunnel because the pinky finger is served by a different nerve.


Would 170 be high enough to cause problems?

I ask that with a lot of admiration bc my own best efforts with my bg range make 170 seem pretty routine.


If only it was as simple as asking others to learn from their experience what your experience of diabetes will be. I don’t believe it works that way. While there is a lot of commonality between us, everyone’s experience of diabetes is still pretty much their experience. You have to learn to know yourself.

Yes, you can look for hints. What happens to others can also be relevant to you. But I personally believe that ultimately you need to look to your own experience to better know how your diabetes works.

As an example, there was a recent thread (in another forum :blush:) about problems with ketones. That’s a read-only thread for me because I have nothing to say about that subject. To my knowledge I have just never experienced that in my 40+ years of living as a LADA T1. I know for a fact I’ve never been treated for ketones.

But for others it is clearly a concern which they remain wary of. Different people, different experiences with diabetes.


Gary Scheiner states that no damage to any diabetic’s body is happening at 160 and below.

That is my thinking on asking if 170 is high enough to cause discernible problems.

I’m not doubting anyone. I’m not looking for universal absolutes. But I am curious mechanically if it’s possible or not.

Hopefully it’s not. That would be good news for everyone.


It certainly seems highly unlikely that a blood sugar of 170 would cause acute problems, definitely neuropathy isn’t caused by sudden shifts in blood sugar but blood sugar issues over time. So I would agree that this sounds more like carpal tunnel, whether a chronic issue or a temporary inflammation/compression of the nerve. I would try taking ibuprofen or naproxen if you can tolerate those to reduce inflammation and if possible rest, ice, and elevate when you are able.

I would be very surprised if short times in 170 put someone at significant risk for long term complications either. It seems that complication risk is heavily moderated by other genetic factors, so likely one person with one set of genes can tolerate higher blood sugars without complications than someone with riskier genes, and I don’t think they can tell you much about your own risk yet. But I would be surprised if even for people are more risk, 170 would pose a lot of danger, especially for short durations.


As someone who had very poor control (well if you could call it control at all!) for many years, I now feel any highs above 120 or so. I just feel lousy (could be mental, too!), but I do get finger tingling due to to BGs in upper 100s. Hence, I “try” to keep under 140.


Well I am going with that theory…Thanks I guess! That seems to make sense. Especially that it is my left hand, probably not used to all the twisting, gripping and grabbing.

I agree it seems unlikely that a 170 spike would cause any immediate short term issues but one never knows. Sometimes diabetes is like whack a mole, we feel things in our bodies or heads that get us wondering “OK what now?”.

Having never experienced significant carpal tunnel I will see if the symptoms return as I keep working at my snails pace.


I had carpel tunnel in both hands, that eventually led to surgery. I wore hand/wrist splints at night that helped for awhile, but eventually had surgery on both hands (about 3 weeks apart).
That was pre-CGMS days, and A1Cs in 8+ range, after many years in 12-14 a1c (estimated) based on urine testing only.

But doing computer/mouse hand gripping over many years was probably what led to seeking relief and surgery.


@Eric there is an easy home based test to determine if it is carpal tunnel, dequervains or something else entirely.
With your hand held out, and your thumb in the 12 o’clock position,. Tuck your thumb and make a fist (thumb is inside fist). Move your fist without moving your arm to the right and the left. This is a basic test for carpal tunnel inflammation which primarily affects middle to pinky fingers

Now move your fist forward and backward (thumb moves from 12 to 3 o’clock, back to 12 and then to 10 o’clock position.) Any pain here signifies dequervains inflammation (which primarily affects thumb and 1st finger)

If neither of these fist actions incur pain, it’s likely not a tendon issue.


I wonder if it might just be one of those weird, transient, circumstantial things that happens.

I’ve noticed that in a certain pair of tennis shoes, if I have them tied too tightly, I go numb in three toes on my left foot. It’s only that pair of shoes and only if it’s too tight. But that was disconcerting the first several times it happened!

Hopefully this is not a bigger thing for your body than a, “Huh. That’s weird.” kinda thing.


Those kinds of weird things are also likely nerve compression. Just sometimes it can be a totally temporary inconsequential thing (like shoes tied too tight), sometimes an acute problem (like an inflammatory flare up), and sometimes a chronic issue. I was worried about this numbness I have on the side of my big toe and the possibility of neuropathy, and my podiatrist took one look at that and my other toes and reassured me neuropathy doesn’t target one spot like that (my sensation elsewhere in feet is intact) and that it’s the obvious result of nerve compression from the also obvious osteoarthritis in my big toe joint, which compresses it. So no real way to undo it, so I need to regularly check that spot on my toe (as well as keep doing the things I do to prevent the arthritis from worsening), but at least it’s not a diabetic complication that has potential to spread or anything.


Thanks for all of the thoughtful responses and theories…you’ve all proven once again that the FuD community is not only unlimited, it’s smart!

I’m happy to report that the finger numbness has not returned despite continued cold-ish temperatures in my work house. I am going with nerve compression or carpal and breathing a sigh of relief.


A number of months ago, I was having numbness in my fingers when I woke up, and it was always on the side that I wasn’t sleeping on. I assumed carpal tunnel so my GP ordered an ultrasound. It wasn’t that at all. I also had the sensation of restless legs.
My GP did full bloodwork tests, and they showed that I was slightly deficient in vitamin D. I have been taking vitamin D and magnesium since, and I haven’t had the numbness for months now.
The surprising thing to me was that I live in the Australian subtropics, and I spend a large amount of time out in the sun, but apparently I still wasn’t getting enough vitamin D that way.
I’ve never really thought much about supplements, that they were just a part of the ‘wellness’ industry, but I’ll be keeping on taking them because they’re definitely doing something!
Anyway, I’d ask for a test to see if it could be an issue for you, @John58.


Glad you found something that works and that is easy to find. Working indoors tends to lead to vitamin D deficiency regardless of where in the world you live.


That Vit D test is a good idea, thanks so much! With the short winter daylight hours here in WA and the indoor work I have not seen much sunshine the past few months.


I am wondering with it being so cold (thickens the blood) and your BG higher (thickens the blood) that your blood might have thickened up enough to cause poor circulation at that time?