Your Fingernails Tell You Other Things About Your Body, Too
Your nails also give you other clues about your health. Side-to-side lines (Beau’s line) could be caused by stress or kidney problems. Brown discoloration or lines that start at the nail bed might indicate a harmless mole or a dangerous melanoma. This is usually isolated to one nail. Things that affect more than one nail might indicate an illness that affects the whole body, like psoriasis, arthritis, or chronic kidney disease. Vitamin deficiencies also affect your nails. For example, a deficiency in B vitamins shows up as ridges along the nail bed, while a calcium deficiency causes brittleness.
Toenail color, breakage, streaks, and spots give you clues about your health. Whitish toes are a common symptom of anemia, while white streaking indicates a protein deficiency. Yellowing could be from painting your toenails too often or fungal infection, but it also might be caused by a liver condition or diabetes. Some other colors to watch for include black (which could indicate bruising or a circulatory issue), gray (which indicates malnutrition or arthritis), and blue (which could be Raynaud’s disease or circulatory problems). Dark streaking could even tell you that you have melanoma, a dangerous form of skin cancer.
It’s estimated that anywhere from 10-30% of people have Morton’s toe. This condition is characterized by a second toe that’s longer than your big toe. While this doesn’t seem to be more than an aesthetic problem in early life, Morton’s toe affects balance and how you distribute your weight across your foot. Over time, this causes calluses to form under the toes. These calluses can cause pain, sometimes so severe that it’s hard to work. The good news is that this early warning sign is something that you can fix using corrective footwear that distributes weight more evenly.
Finger Length is Linked to Testosterone and Aggression
According to this study, a man’s predisposition to aggression starts in utero and it also correlates to finger length. When the fourth digit (ring finger) is longer than the second digit (pointer finger), it means a baby was exposed to more testosterone in utero. These higher levels of testosterone aren’t necessarily a good thing. In addition to an increased risk of aggression, having a longer ring finger has also been linked to an increased risk of autism and ADHD. It can also affect verbal communication skills. It’s worth noting that for women, there is no correlation between finger length and aggression.
If you frequently experience pain on the back of your leg near the heel, it could be an early symptom of psoriasis. Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that often shows up as red, scaly patches of skin. It’s caused by your body attacking healthy skin tissue. Psoriasis affects your Achilles tendon because it attacks the fibrous tissue there, causing inflammation. Other psoriasis symptoms that might present in your feet include plantar fasciitis, toenail changes, and foot deformities like curling of the toes. Some people also experience swelling of the fingers and toes in a way that makes them look like sausages.
The reason that your body craves sugar when your body is dehydrated is that it’s having trouble converting the available sugar in your body. It prefers to burn glycogen (glucose) for energy, so your body craves sugar. This is especially likely to happen after a workout, but it can happen any time that your body is dehydrated. Some other signs include thirst, fatigue, and headaches. You also might notice symptoms like dry eyes and blurry vision, dry mouth, dry skin, muscle cramps, lack of sweat, fever, and dark urine. A drink with electrolytes or fruit with high water content is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth.
A healthy-looking tongue is pink and covered with small nodules. When your tongue changes color, it could be trying to tell you something. A bright, red tongue could indicate iron or Vitamin B12 deficiencies, scarlet fever, thrush, or Kawasaki disease. A white or white-spotted tongue could be oral thrush or another sickness while a black, hairy tongue indicates an overgrowth of bacteria in your mouth. Finally, a bump could be caused by smoking or mouth sores, but it also could indicate oral cancer. Oral cancer isn’t always painful, so get bumps that last longer than 2 weeks checked out.
White patches on your tongue could be caused by smoking or the growth of bacteria on your tongue. In some people, however, these patches are a condition known as geographic tongue. They often look like countries on a map, which is where the condition gets its name. Geographic tongue is an indicator of the autoimmune condition celiac disease. When people who have celiac disease eat gluten, the body creates cells that attack and damage the small intestine. In addition to widespread inflammation, celiac disease can cause symptoms including fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss.
Salt Cravings Can Tell You Things About Your Body, Too
Sometimes, a desire for salty snacks comes from boredom, not getting enough sleep, or feeling stressed. Salt does play a big role in the body. However, most Americans have too much salt in their diets. With the many risks associated with high salt intake to think about, you don’t always want to give in to these cravings. Some people crave salty snacks when they’re bored or stressed. Salt cravings are also common if you didn’t sleep enough or after a workout. However, it can also be a sign of the kidney condition Bartter’s syndrome or Addison’s disease (adrenal deficiency).
It’s normal to chew on ice every once in a while, especially if you’re bored or are trying to cool off. If you’re having constant ice cravings though, it could be a sign of PICA. PICA is a disorder where people chew on items that have no nutritional value like clay, paper, soil, or ice. While doctors aren’t sure why there is a correlation between these two things, chewing ice is common in people with low iron or anemia. Some other common symptoms include cold hands and feet, irregular heartbeat, dizziness (especially when standing), and fatigue.
Eye redness is a pretty common symptom. It can be caused by having a cold, not getting enough sleep, dry eyes, or conjunctivitis (pink eye). In rare cases, however, bloodshot eyes are a sign of deep eye infection or glaucoma. Left untreated, either of these conditions can cause blindness. You should see your doctor if bloodshot eyes last longer than two weeks, don’t seem to have a cause or are accompanied by symptoms like eye pain or worsening vision. You also might need to see a doctor if redness appears after a chemical splash- damage from these can show up hours later.
There are a lot of things that cause skin irritation, from dry skin to being exposed to irritants in your soap or laundry detergent. While skin rashes are fairly common, they can also be a sign of something more serious if they are painful, spread quickly, accompanied by a fever, or don’t respond to treatment. Infections like Staph are dangerous while hives could be from an allergic reaction. There are also several autoimmune diseases commonly accompanied by a rash, including lupus, dermatitis, Celiac disease, and Sjogren’s syndrome. Rash is also a symptom of kidney disease.
A lot of people experience chest pain from indigestion, especially if they’ve been eating acidic or spicy foods that might cause an attack. In other cases, sudden chest pain happens when a person is having a heart attack. A lesser knower cause of chest pain is skin cancer. The reason melanoma skin cancer is so dangerous is that it can metastasize anywhere in your body. As tumors grow in the chest, they cause chest pain and breathlessness. Other causes of chest pain include lung disorders like hypertension, blood clots, or COPD, and coronary artery disease.
Losing Your Sense of Smell Might Be Caused by Alzheimer’s
A lot of people associate a lost sense of smell with Covid-19 since it’s a key symptom that sets the coronavirus apart from other colds. If you’ve lost your sense of smell without being sick, however, it could be giving you clues about your brain health. People lose their sense of smell when an inflammatory response is triggered in the brain. As one of the key symptoms of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and dementia is inflammation, it makes sense that this would be an early symptom. Older adults who lose their sense of smell are five times more likely to develop dementia.
A lot of us lead pretty busy lives, so it’s easy to think nothing of it when we get random bruises that we don’t really remember getting. However, easy bruising is a symptom of iron deficiency or anemia. People with low iron levels bruise easily because they have low levels of platelets. Platelets help with blood clotting that slows bruising after an injury. In rare cases, leg bruising is also an early sign of leukemia. Leukemia bruises show up as red or purple spots on the skin and are accompanied by symptoms like pale skin, weakness and fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath, and feeling cold.
Handwriting Changes Could Be a Sign of Parkinson’s
Slight handwriting changes aren’t really something to worry about. This is especially true for those times when you’re rushed or trying to get something down in a hurry and the result is barely legible. For people who experience handwriting that gets smaller and more cramped with time, however, it could be an early warning sign of Parkinson’s. Before diagnosis, people with Parkinson’s may experience pain or stiffness in their joints that affect their motor movements. These changes result in them writing smaller because their usual writing style might cause pain.