If you’ve got a cough or cold, chances are, you know you’re sick. It’s kind of hard to ignore that relentless hacking when it really gets going, isn’t it?
What are often easier to ignore are the simple signs that our everyday health is a little…off. You know, those rare instances our bodies do things that are kind of weird, but we shrug our shoulders and go about our everyday lives anyhow. After all, unless it requires a doctor’s visit, we often have more pressing things to think about.
Turns out, we should be paying more attention to our bodies, especially given how easy these obvious signs of bad health actually are to spot (and the dire consequences they could have on our health down the line). Really, for most, all that’s involved is looking in the mirror.
No, this isn’t a vanity thing. We know that everyone gets wrinkles, that’s just the way of life. But if you think you have more wrinkles than you should at your age, that could be a sign that something else is going on within. Some studies have shown that for smokers in particular, there could be a correlation between wrinkles and lung disease. There’s bad news for non-smokers, too: Extra wrinkles can occur as a result of poor diet, stress and not enough sleep—all facts that could lead to things like stroke, heart disease and even cancer in the future.
There are some things a mint can’t fix. If bad breath is one of them, it may be time to do a little investigating as to why. While certain vitamins and medications could be the culprit or perhaps a trip to the dentist is actually in order, bad breath can also be an early indicator of certain types of cancer, heart failure, diabetes, kidney failure, sleep apnea and more.
Everyone’s gripped something so hard that their palm turned red. But if your hands are red or splotching for a prolonged period, that could be a troubling sign in terms of your health. Turns out that red hands can be a sign of liver disease. Or that you’re pregnant: Increased blow flow has been known to turn more than half of soon-to-be moms’ hands red. If you’re a male or a female who isn’t expecting, look to see if you have any other swelling or fatigue and be sure to take yourself to the doctors.
EXCESSIVE FACIAL OR BODY HAIR
Notice that you’re starting to resemble a hairier version of your formal self? That could be some as simple as a new medication that you’re taking. Or, it could be a sign that you’ve got an underlying health issue. Adrenal gland tumours, insulin resistance and Cushing’s disease (a hormonal disorder that occurs when the blood contains high levels of cortisol), are all known to cause excessive hair growth. If you’re a woman, hair growth could also indicate imbalanced hormone levels or even polycystic ovary syndrome.
It seems odd, but how long your digits are could actually determine your future health. The research is still out on why, but women with ring fingers that are longer than their index fingers are twice as likely to suffer from osteoarthritis. And osteoarthritis of the knees is also more common in men and women who fit that bill. Meanwhile, longer index fingers could indicate a higher risk of breast cancer in women and a lower risk of prostate cancer in men.
Let’s all agree that sudden foot cramps are the worst. Sometimes they’re caused by dehydration. Other times, we’ve just sat in one position for too long, or they’re your body’s way of dealing with fatigue. But if you’re hydrated, comfy, well-rested and still getting foot cramps on the regular, there could be something else going on. It could be your diet (as in not getting enough vitamins) or nerve damage or worse. Diabetes, thyroid problems, anaemia, Huntington’s Disease and Parkinson’s all increase the risk of foot cramps. So, if you’ve got ’em, rather than hobbling along, it’s probably a good idea to take a brisk walk to your doctor’s office to find out why.