What Are the Causes of Lip Numbness?

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The nerves of the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system are responsible for providing sensation and movement to specific areas of the body. Any damage to the nerves, either caused by trauma or an underlying condition, can result in lip numbness, medically referred to as paresthesia. Lip numbness can also occur as a result of imbalances of the blood gases oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Transient Ischemic Attack

A transient ischemic attack, often referred to as a mini-stroke, is a condition in which a blood clot briefly and temporarily blocks blood flow to the brain. A transient ischemic attack is characterized by similar symptoms as a stroke, but unlike a stroke, causes no long-term effects. One of the most common symptoms is sudden numbness and weakness that affects one side of the face, including the lips, as well as the arm and leg on that same side, according to MayoClinic.com. Other symptoms include slurred speech, difficulty understanding speech, vision loss in one or both eyes, double vision, dizziness and loss of balance. Most transient ischemic attacks serve as a warning sign and indicate an increased risk for a future stroke, so it is important to seek medical care to determine the underlying cause and specific treatment options.

Multiple Sclerosis

Nerve cells are surrounded by a protective covering called the myelin sheath. In addition to providing protection, the myelin sheath ensures that nerve signals are transmitted quickly and efficiently through the neural network. An autoimmune disorder, known as multiple sclerosis, causes gradual, chronic inflammation to the nerves in the central nervous system, which over time, damages the myelin sheath. When the myelin sheath is damaged, nerve signals are significantly slowed down or interrupted completely. Because nerves anywhere in the central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord, can be affected, symptoms can occur in any area of the body, according to MedlinePlus. Symptoms include, but are not limited to, numbness of the lips, facial pain, muscle spasms, loss of balance, muscle tremors, constipation, changes in urinary pattern, vision problems, hearing loss, slurred speech and fatigue. There is no cure for multiple sclerosis, but a combination of medications, physical therapy and occupational therapy may help reduce symptoms.

Hyperventilation Syndrome

During normal breathing, oxygen is inhaled and carbon dioxide is exhaled and a proper balance of blood gases is maintained. Hyperventilation, also referred to as over-breathing, is rapid, deep breathing that occurs as a result of increased anxiety or panic or depression. Hyperventilation syndrome is a condition characterized by repeated episodes of hyperventilation. Rapid breathing may not be too evident in those with hyperventilation syndrome, but other symptoms include belching, bloating, chest pain, confusion, dizziness, lightheadedness, muscle spasms, numbness and tingling in the lips and mouth, shortness of breath and weakness, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Episodes of hyperventilation cause decreased levels of carbon dioxide in the blood, so treatment focuses on restoring carbon dioxide balance. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends breathing through pursed lips or breathing through only one nostril.

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