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People suffering from "pins and needles" sensation all over the body are often very miserable, as it could be a general presentation of numerous localized diseases that might take months to be picked by a physician.

A very important and frequent disease causing a tingling or prickling sensation (aka pins and needles) sensation is diabetes mellitus. Although our screening policies have greatly improved timely diagnosis of diabetes, a good portion of patients are diagnosed years after the disease is initiated. This is when the organ damage of diabetes has already set in.

Since diabetes influences almost all body organs, including the sensory nerves, it can cause tingling and prickling sensation all over the body.

Since diabetes is an endocrine disease (organs secreting hormones into blood), many other endocrine abnormalitiescan also produce similar symptoms during the course of a disease. This is because most secreted hormones have a wide spectrum of effects on different organs.

An important example is the thyroid gland and thyroid hormone affecting numerous organs. Imbalances of thyroid hormone can cause "pins and needles".

"Pins and needles" sensation could be the side effect of hundreds of drugs. The majority of drugs are carried out all over the body through the blood and they can have a lot of unwanted effects (side-effects) in organs not targeted for treatment. In severe instances, this can lead to withdrawing the medication causing this symptom.

Diseases of blood can also cause tingling or prickling sensation.

Most notably, anemia may cause a "pins and needles" sensation. Anemia is broad in terms of numerous diseases and deficiencies that cause it. A good example is vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, which is known to be accompanied by neurological symptoms.

Alcohol misuse, malnutrition and trace element deficiencies can cause "pins and needles" sensation.

The actual problem could be anywhere in the metabolism (changes within the body). For example, a trace element deficiency could arise for a pump disease in the intestine hindering the transport of the element. This makes the oral treatment and replacement therapy of that element ineffective as a treatment.

Finally, a number of neurological and psychologicaldiseases can produce tingling and prickling sensation.

An important example is multiple sclerosis in which patients describe a similar sensation.

A fair amount of medications used in psychiatry and a few clinical conditions create a feeling of "pins and needles". Although anxiety might be considered a culprit in some cases, it is not clear if it is a cause or an effect.

The actual cause of "pins and needles" becomes clear only after a thorough clinical examination and for the majority of conditions described above laboratory tests are indispensible to confirm the diagnosis.

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