Monday, April 8, 2019

What Your Hands Are Telling You About Your Health


Do you know the back of your hand like the back of your hand? Well, from a medical point of view, probably not. It turns out that your hands are a portal into your overall health. But do you know how?

Here’s what your hands are trying to tell you about your health? Do you have any of these issues?

Red, Swollen Fatty Knuckles

It’s perfectly normal to have swollen knuckles if you’ve just punched something really hard. But if you haven’t and yet you still look positively ham-fisted, then you might be in trouble.

The reason? It could be the sign of a dangerous cardiovascular condition. Some people are born with a genetic mutation which leads to a condition called “familial hypercholesterolemia.” The “hyper” part of that long name implies that its more than you want, and the “cholesterolemia” part is referring to cholesterol. So that body has more cholesterol than it needs.

We all know that having high cholesterol is bad for heart disease and increases stroke recovery time, but people with this genetic condition tend to have cholesterol levels well above the safe level. The body doesn’t have anywhere to put the cholesterol, so it just dumps it wherever it can, sometimes under the knuckles.

People with familial hypercholesterolemia rarely know they’ve got it until its too late, so if your knuckles appear swollen for no reason, go and ask your doctor about it. The good news is that most people with the genetic condition can bring down their cholesterol levels with a combination of lifestyle changes and drugs, allowing them to live a normal life.

Sweaty Hands

Everybody gets sweaty hands from time to time: that’s normal. But if you find that your palms are regularly issuing forth, then you may have a problem.

One of the most common reasons for sweaty palms is an overactive thyroid. The thyroid is a gland that acts as a kind of master switch for the body’s metabolism. Too little thyroid activity and you don’t burn much energy; too much and your body goes into hyperdrive, consuming way more energy than it should, creating heat. The sweat isn’t the problem itself, but rather your body’s reaction to the excess heat being thrown off by overactive metabolic processes.

The medical community thinks that sweaty hands might be caused by an excess of the thyroid hormone, called thyroxine. There are drugs available on the market that can block the formation of new thyroxine, so it might be worth investigating these.

Yellow Or Green Nails

Yellowing or green nails are never a good thing, especially if you want to wear your favorite shoes, but they’re a surprisingly common, especially during the summer months. The most common cause of yellowing or greening nails is fungal nail infection. These infections don’t usually go away by themselves, but they can be easily treated with the right over-the-counter remedy.

Red And Blotchy Palms

Red and blotchy palms are a warning sign of much more severe fatty liver diseases. Fatty liver disease used to be something that only heavy drinkers got. But thanks to changes in lifestyle and the fact that many people now fill up on sugary snacks and cakes, many cases of fatty liver disease today are also diet-induced.

When the liver starts to fail, it no longer regulates the levels of certain hormones in the body in the way it should. One of the hormones that it regulates controls the dilation of blood vessels close to the skin in areas around the hands and feet. When this hormone isn’t working correctly, the hands take on a red and blotchy appearance, like they’re hot, but the redness doesn’t go away. If you notice redness or blotchiness, talk to your doctor.

Clubbed Fingers

Clubbed fingers occur when the ends of the fingers look as if they are curving over, rather than staying straight. This isn’t just a sign of getting older: it’s potentially a severe problem that could indicate problems with your lungs.

Researchers believe that the tips of fingers may curl over as a response to a lack of oxygen. The body can no longer supply vital nutrients, like oxygen, to the extremities, and so they furthest reaches of the body attempt to curl back to get access to the nutrients they need to survive. This then changes the shape of the hands and feet, leading to a clubbed appearance.

People with cystic fibrosis and COPD can develop clubbed fingers if their conditions are not appropriately managed.

Shaking Hands

Short-term hand trembling can be caused by all kinds of things, from anti-depressants to drinking too much caffeine.

However, sometimes tremors can emerge even when you haven’t been on the coffee.

If you have tremors which don’t seem to have an identifiable cause, your doctor may diagnose you with “essential tremor.” Tremors often indicate an issue with the nervous system and could be a sign of early-onset Parkinsons, a disease that can affect people at any age.

Ridges On Your Nails

What are those annoying tiny ridges on your nails? And can they cause you harm?

Ridges on your nails are harmless in themselves, but they are a sign that your body may have been through a substantial trauma. People tend to develop ridges after receiving treatment for life-threatening conditions, like cancer. Little bumps on the nails are a sign that the body is trying to heal and get back to normal but may have been damaged in the process.

Blue Fingertips

All of us have briefly lost sensation in our fingertips at one point or another. But some people experience blue numb fingers on a more regular basis than others.

This numbness is often caused by a condition called Raynaud’s syndrome where the blood vessels at the tips of the fingers are overly sensitive to variations in temperature. A fall in temperature can cause them to shut off, blocking off fresh oxygen and nutrients from reaching the end of the finger. The result is blue- and white-looking fingers that feel numb and tingly.

If you have any of the symptoms listed above, mention your concerns with your doctor. It's better to be safe than sorry!

1 comment:

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