According to the Mayo Clinic, numbness in the hands generally arises from compression, damage, or irritation of one or more of the nerves of the wrist or arm. Diabetes and other diseases that affect bodily peripheral nerves also cause hand numbness that is usually preceded by foot numbness. In rare cases, hand numbness derives from spinal cord or brain complications that also accompany the loss of hand or arm function.
A number of other diseases and health conditions also initiate hand numbness, states the Mayo Clinic. These ailments include HIV/AIDS, carpel tunnel syndrome, alcoholism, lyme disease, strokes, vitamin B-12 deficiency, Guillain-Barre Syndrome and ulnar nerve compression.
Individuals who experience hand numbness must consult with a physician for a proper diagnosis and subsequent medical treatment. The Mayo Clinic states that people who experience sudden hand numbness that accompanies a severe headache, dizziness, mental confusion, speaking difficulties or bodily paralysis must receive emergency medical care to determine the cause of the condition. Individuals who experience hand numbness that comes and goes, spreads to other bodily parts, occurs after repetitive motions, affects both hands simultaneously or affects one finger at a time must schedule a doctor's appointment to receive a thorough examination and appropriate medical treatment.