When it comes to health, the American Heart Association has warned that the body always sends us signs that something is off balance long before a serious condition appears. Is a nagging cough “just” a cough, a persistent headache, something to be concerned about? Sometimes, a symptom in one part of the body may be a sign of a problem in another part of the body. Being able to notice early signs and address them early can significantly improve the overall quality of life.
Here are signs of poor health that you should be aware of…
Craving ice cubes or ice cream? It could be that the body is low in iron. Doctors call it “pica.” It’s when the body starts craving things that have no nutritional value, like ice, clay, soil, or paper. Specifically, chewing ice is associated with iron deficiency anemia.
There are no clear studies that show the reasons, but one study indicates that the alertness in people with an iron deficiency declines when they chew ice. There are other problems associated with pica, like emotional problems such as stress and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Is your ring finger longer than your index finger? If so, you could be at a higher risk for osteoarthritis (OA), and you’ll want to look into incorporating more exercise into your lifestyle to help strengthen your body. A study of over 2,000 patients was conducted, showing those who had significant symptoms of OA in the knees or hips had their hands and feet analyzed to find similarities.
They discovered that men with a ring finger longer than their index finger were 2.5 times more likely than women to get OA in their lifetime. The study also discovered that both men and women were at greater risk of OA of the tibiofemoral knee joint.
If you start to notice that your legs are expanding in size, it could be related to the health of your thyroid. Legs swell because of an accumulation of fluid in the tissues. This occurrence is called peripheral edema. There are several causes of this symptom, like salt retention, cellulitis, congestive heart failure, pregnancy, venous insufficiency, and side effects from medication.
An edema is a sign of smaller issues like blood clots in the leg, liver disease, kidney disease, lymphedema, or eosinophilic fasciitis. Simple lifestyle changes, such as exercise, eating whole foods, and taking supplements, can often take care of leg swelling. If the problem persists for long periods of time, do consult your doctor.
Persistent itching on your body can be an indicator of allergies or a skin disorder. There are several causes of itchy skin or pruritus, such as internal diseases like an unhealthy liver. If anything, try not to scratch the area that is causing you discomfort. It will cause the itchiness to last longer and potentially spread.
Pruritus has many faces. You could experience a rash with red bumps, or your skin will look like it has some rough patches. If the itchiness lasts more than two weeks with no improvement, it’s time to see the doctor.
Having black feces is an indicator of internal bleeding, most likely due to a stomach ulcer. There are other reasons, such as taking too many iron supplements or foods that are dark blue, green, or black. If that is not the case, there is possibly an issue in the upper digestive tract.
An issue in your lower digestive tract would consist of bright red blood in your stool. A black stool with pain, vomiting, and diarrhea, then there is something more severe going on in your body. Talk to your medical practitioner about what you can do to resolve the issue.
Impaired Cognitive Function
If you have difficulty thinking clearly or if you experience brain fog, it can be due to excess fat in the body. Fatty acids floating around the body eventually will get to the brain, causing inflammation that will affect your ability to think clearly. Excess fat and obesity have been shown to affect the brain’s ability to function correctly. You could improve your condition simply by taking steps towards shedding those extra pounds.
Not only will you start thinking clearly, but you will have much more energy to be productive than ever before. Obesity causes all kinds of health problems. A nutrient-filled diet and regular exercise will get you on the right track.
Anxiety is completely normal. Common stressors in life like family, kids, and finances can keep you on edge. If you’re living in a state of anxiety, it could be a sign of hormonal imbalance. Severe anxiety that includes lightheadedness and nausea may mean something more serious.
Your adrenals or thyroid could be out of whack, or it could be related to adrenal tumors, all of which could lead to heart disease. Either way, prolonged anxiety causes stress on your body that can lead to severe complications. A way to help your anxiety is to try meditation, yoga, or get a massage.
Snoring is a sign of sleep apnea, which means that your airways are being blocked in some way. This can potentially lead to hypertension and even heart failure. Common causes of snoring are being overweight, smoking, or having high cholesterol from thickening or other abnormalities in the carotid artery. Yikes! Snoring is not to be ignored.
If you or your partner are snoring all of the time, it might be time to take a look at your diet and your habits. Losing a little weight will do wonders for your body, including giving your partner a quiet night of sleep. A quick visit to the doctor doesn’t hurt either.
If you constantly feel tired and drained, it could be that your body is working extra hard to eliminate toxins from things like alcohol, cigarettes, or processed foods. This effort puts additional stress on your adrenals which can cause long-term exhaustion. Chronic fatigue is a sign of other critical conditions. Feeling consistently tired could mean something more serious. Some diseases linked to persistent exhaustion include anemia, depression, fibromyalgia, allergies, or even cancer. Most of the time, you are just not feeding your body the right kind of fuel.
If you feel tired after indulging in a huge plate of French fries and fried fish, then your body is not getting the right nutrients to give you energy, thus giving you a reason to want to take a nap.
Extra Belly Fat
Being overweight and obese is always an indicator of some kind of ill health. However, if you tend to carry your extra weight in your belly, as opposed to your hips and thighs, you’re at a higher risk for heart disease. Some women who carry weight around their belly area might have a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which is linked to a high risk of diabetes.
The reason why extra belly fat is bad is that it is located near the portal vein, which carries blood from the intestine to the liver. That visceral fat is linked to diabetes which is your body’s inability to produce insulin to process glucose. All you need is 30 minutes a day of a moderate-intensity workout, like walking outdoors, to get rid of your gut.
Early Grey Hairs
Some people get grey hair at an early age simply because they’re genetically designed to do so. But for others, grey hairs at an early age can indicate thyroid disorders or some nutrient deficiencies. Naturally, your body produces melanin which is the pigment that gives your hair color. When you get older, or you experience nutrient deficiencies, your body stops or slows down the production of melanin, giving you grey hairs.
An autoimmune condition called vitiligo is linked to destroying pigments or melanocytes, giving you white patches on your skin and body. Take a good look at your family to see when they tend to start getting greys. If you are getting them earlier than everyone else, then it’s time to visit your doctor.
As we age, we generally get a little shorter, but if this is happening at a fast rate, it could be due to loss of bone density. Low bone density is concerning since it means one has weak bones that can fracture easily. Normally, those who lose height because the discs between their vertebrae start to dehydrate and compress. As the spine gets older, it also becomes more curved and can collapse due to loss of bone density.
Even the arches in your feet can start to flatten to make you shorter gradually. Women are more likely to get osteoporosis than men, which is the loss of bone density. Get your calcium on a regular basis to prevent shrinking.
Cold Hands And Feet
Do your hands and feet get extremely cold in the middle of the summer? There are several causes of frosty hands and feet, like frostbite, anemia, diabetes, lupus, or Raynaud’s disease, which causes your blood vessels to overreact and does not allow blood flow. More than likely, especially if you do not keep an eye on your iron levels, you could be anemic. Try adding an iron supplement to your diet to help keep your hands and feet warm.
Other serious conditions usually have symptoms associated with your freezing digits. If you have pale skin or discolored skin, then you might have Raynaud’s disease, which means to cure your ailment, you will need surgery to correct your nerves.
Nails are much more than a place on your body. You can add a little color. Having bumps, ridges, or discoloration on your nails are all indicators that something in your body isn’t functioning correctly. Yellow, thick, crumbly nail is a sign of a fungal infection. This is easily fixed with some over-the-counter medication.
Remember to avoid acrylics or nail polish for a period of time to let your nails grow back to their healthy state. More serious colorations like black or brown streaks could mean kidney failure or even melanoma. Follow up with your medical practitioner to see what the root cause could be.
Chapped lips are common during the cold months. However, if you find yourself constantly applying lip balm to keep your lips moist, there is probably an underlying problem. Some conditions associated with chapped lips are dehydration, a vitamin deficiency, or even something more serious. Like any other ailment, if the problem persists for more than two weeks, then you will need to visit your doctor.
Dry lips are a major symptom of pellagra (a vitamin B3 deficiency), angular cheilitis (an inflammatory condition that affects the corners of your mouth), or Kawasaki disease, which is more common in children.
Tossing and turning in bed is caused by that pesky to-do list you never finished or thoughts that are bothering you. That’s not always the case. Insomnia is always a way for your body to tell you that something needs to be changed. For example, if you eat fatty foods before bed, don’t exercise, or if you spend most of your waking hours downing coffee, that can lead to restlessness when you finally lay down to sleep.
Other causes are more serious, like thyroid disease, kidney disease, or heartburn. You may need to rethink that steak dinner right before you hit this sack. It could cause you several hours of shut-eye.
The human body is really perfect in that it will tell you when something is not going right. Most of the time, beauty really does start from the inside out. Skin problems like acne or other blemishes like stretch marks are often related to poor diet. Eating a whole foods diet that is nutrient dense can often improve the condition of your skin. Also, you could not be drinking enough water.
Try drinking eight glasses a day and watch your skin start to clear up. Not only will it keep you from overeating snacks that aren’t good for you, but it will also keep you looking young.
You might notice your urine is a little darker when you don’t have enough water. It will be a dark yellow; however, when you’re suffering from dehydration, one indicator will be your urine, which will turn black. Urine is produced by the kidneys, where your organs have time to eliminate all of the toxins, so it is released from your body. If your urine is any other color besides yellow, then you have bigger fish to fry.
Brown urine indicates a problem in your liver, while red urine indicates there is blood where it shouldn’t be. When you notice something out of the ordinary, reach out to your doctor. There are several causes for dark urine, so you’ll need a professional to help you figure out which ailment is causing the dark urine symptom.