It isn’t only hair loss on your head that could be a sign of a hidden health condition. Thinning eyebrows from hypothyroidism are most often seen as thinning in the outer 1/3 part of a person’s eyebrow. Your thyroid plays a critical role in regulating hormone levels in the body. These hormones are involved in everything from emotional regulation to digestion. When hormone levels are out of balance, your organs don’t get the signal to produce enough stomach acid. This makes it hard for your body to digest critical proteins and nutrients for hair growth, which is why you lose hair.
Shorter Limbs Point to an Increased Risk of Neurodegenerative Disease
The length of your limbs also might reflect more than just how tall your parents were. There have been several studies that point to limb length (like arm span and knee height) reflect early environment. Sometimes, people with shorter limbs were lacking something (like certain nutrients) during childhood. Shorter limbs are linked to an increased risk of disease, while longer limbs decreased the risk of neurological conditions. Research shows that Alzheimer’s and dementia are less likely in people with longer limbs. Longer arm spans decrease the risk for men and women, while only women’s leg length decreases risk.
Surprisingly, it’s not even the internal parts of your ear that give you clues to your kidney. The link between ear shape and kidneys was first documented as early as 1946 by Edith Potter, who noted the connection between flattened ears and kidney agenesis, which is the absence of kidney tissue in one or both kidneys. Since then, there have been several other kidney problems linked to ear malformations including Townes-Brock Syndrome, BOR syndrome, and other congenital anomalies. Even minor malformations like ear tags or pits show a correlation to tags on the kidneys and in the urinary tract.
Swollen Feet? Something Could Be Wrong with Your Heart
Swollen feet and ankles aren’t always a cause for concern, especially when they happen after a long day of being on your feet. In cases where swelling doesn’t go away on its own, however, it could indicate heart problems. Swelling in the feet and legs happens when your heart isn’t effectively pumping blood to and from your lower extremities. This is a condition known as edema. Sometimes, it indicates the lower chambers of your heart aren’t working. Congestive heart failure also causes edema.
In addition to problems with your heart, swollen feet could indicate a number of other conditions as well. There are times when swollen feet are normal. This ailment is especially common in pregnant women, people who are overweight, people on their feet a lot, and people on certain medications. If swelling happens suddenly or doesn’t go down, however, it could be a sign of a blood clot, underactive thyroid, kidney disorder, poor circulation, or problems with the lymphatic system. Swelling accompanied by pain, cold feet, a pins and needles sensation, or burning could also indicate something is wrong.
Face Shape Could Indicate a Greater Risk of Infidelity
The things your body is trying to tell you aren’t always related to health. According to research published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, having a wider face could indicate a higher risk of infidelity. The study analyzed facial ratios by dividing face height by width. Then, they answered a questionnaire about sexual habits and preferences. The results were that people with wider or square faces have a heightened sex drive. They were also more likely to participate in casual sex outside of their relationship. The combination of these two factors increases the risk of infidelity.
Frequent urination can happen from drinking a lot of fluids. This is especially true if you’ve been drinking coffee, tea, or alcohol, which are all diuretics. Other times, it might indicate a UTI, bladder infection, or untreated diabetes. When your body struggles to process glucose, it pulls water away from less useful areas and puts it into your bloodstream. This helps your body process the extra glucose better. However, it also causes you to get thirsty from the water you’re missing. Drinking more water than normal without increasing physical activity or making other changes might indicate a doctor’s visit.
Most people know urine is a good indicator of how hydrated they are. Darker urine points to dehydration while pale yellow, odorless urine is a sign of health. If your urine is cloudy, however, your body could be trying to give you hints about an underlying health condition. Urine could be cloudy from a sexually transmitted infection, urinary tract infection, kidney stones, or even untreated diabetes. If you ever experience abdominal pain, blood in the urine, or pain during urination, it could also be a sign you need to see the doctor.
Your Bowel Movements Give Clues About Your Health, Too
Bowel movements aren’t really something that anyone enjoys talking about, but knowing what a healthy movement looks like tells you when something is off. A healthy movement is soft but formed and brown in color. Your poop can change color from the foods you eat. If it is black, however, it could mean there’s blood in your digestive tract. The size and consistency also matter. Hard poops mean constipation, while oily poops could mean Celiac disease or gallbladder problems. Additionally, if your poop is thinner for a longer period of time, it could mean there’s a blockage in your colon.
Bloating is one of those symptoms that we’ve all experienced from time to time. It’s really common after a big meal or when you eat foods that make you gassy or irritate your digestive tract. Bloating can also happen when you get too hot, after you’ve been exercising, or when you’ve swallowed more air than normal. That being said, bloating that is accompanied by persistent pain, bloating that doesn’t go away, or bloating accompanied by any type of blood in your stool or digestive tract could be a sign of liver disease or ovarian cancer.
The Way Your Sweat Smells Could Tell You Something
People sweat as a way to regulate their body temperature. Even though sweat is sometimes thought of as having an odor, it’s actually bacteria on your skin that changes the way sweat smells. Sweat is odorless. The presence of bacteria isn’t the only thing that changes how sweat smells. Sweat that smells sweet or fruity could indicate diabetes, while sweat that smells like acetone indicates low blood sugar. The smell associated with diabetes is the reason people with severe diabetes may have a service dog. Additionally, sweat that smells like ammonia could be a kidney or liver problem.
What Your Body is Telling You With How Much You Sweat
When excessive sweating exists as a symptom itself, it’s a condition known as primary hyperhidrosis. There is no cure for the condition, but your doctor can help you manage symptoms. Secondary hyperhidrosis happens when excessive sweating exists as a symptom. Underlying conditions that cause secondary hyperhidrosis include high blood sugar, neurological disease, adrenal gland tumors, pituitary gland problems, or neurological disease. Sweating also can be caused by infection, fever, or diseases including malaria or tuberculosis. For women who are approaching middle age, excessive sweating could be a symptom of menopause, especially if it happens sporadically and disrupts sleep.
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.