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What your hands can tell you about your health

Friday, October 6th 2017. | Hands

Our hands are one of the most important parts of our body. We do most of our work with them. They can also tell us a great deal about our health. Here are some important clues your hands can reveal about your overall health.
Trembling hands could be due to too much caffeine, anxiety, alcohol withdrawal or some medications including anti-depressants and anti-asthma drugs. Unexplained tremors can be due to Parkinsonism, a nervous disorder that causes involuntary movements.

If your nails seem more delicate and weak then you may have a zinc deficiency. Add zinc-rich foods such as wheat germ, oats, nuts, and meat to your diet or take a zinc supplement to treat them.

If the skin on your fingertips is peeling and coming off you may have a deficiency of the B vitamins. Taking a supplement such as niacin (B3) and biotin (vitamin B7) will improve the skin.

Reddened palms may be seen during pregnancy and during hot flashes in menopausal women. If the skin of your hands is dry, itchy and red you may have eczema. Repeated hand washing can also dry out the skin.

If your hands are pale you might be suffering from anaemia a lack of blood in the body. You may also have other symptoms such as weakness, tiredness or being short of breath.Hands

Blue fingertips that are cold, painful, numb or tingling could be an indicator of Reynauds disease which is a circulatory disorder. The colour can change from white or red to blue.

Blotchy red palms can be due to a condition called palmar erythema. This is a sign of liver disease, particularly of cirrhosis and non-alcoholic fatty liver. It must be checked by a doctor.

Swollen fingers that feel stiff and do not bend easily can be because of simple enough reasons such as intake of too much salt in your diet, long flights or PMS. They can also be an indicator of an under-active thyroid and rheumatoid arthritis. This should also be checked by a doctor.

Hot sweaty palms can be due to stress, or can be a sign of an overactive thyroid. Cold, clammy hands indicate an anxiety disorder whereas cold, dry hands could indicate an under active thyroid.

Fingers curling inwards are a classic symptom of Dupuytren’s contracture, a familial disease in which the tendons running from the fingertips to the palms of the hands thicken. It’s more common in the ring and little fingers. It may be triggered by excess alcohol intake, diabetes or an injury to the hand. Surgery may be needed to straighten the fingers.

Hard, yellow bumps over the knuckles are known as tendon xanthoma. These get more prominent when you clench your fist. They are caused by cholesterol deposits. Runs in families and is a potentially fatal high cholesterol condition called ‘familial hypercholesterolaemia.’

If your index finger is longer than your ring finger you are twice as likely to suffer from osteoarthritis, especially of the knees. On the other hand, longer index fingers, are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer in women and with a lower risk of prostate cancer in men.

Tiny red stripes under the nails can signal infection in the heart (endocarditis) or in the blood. These stripes run in the direction of nail growth. They are called splinter haemorrhages as they resemble splinters that got stuck under the nail. They can also be caused by an injury to the nails.

Hands that feel wooden (palmar fasciitis) are a rare sign of ovarian cancer. The cancer cells give out a chemical that triggers fibrosis of the palmar tissues.

Hands that are swollen and enlarged, could be because of a condition called acromegaly. The feet, lips, nose and ears can also be affected. This is a disease of the the pituitary gland which must be treated by surgery or it could be fatal.

A tingling sensation in the hands can be because of tiredness or fatigue, lack of the B Vitamins, carpal tunnel syndrome, problems with the spine, with blood circulation, in diabetes and Buergers disease (caused by smoking).

If your fingertips are getting bigger and wider (clubbing of the fingers) it is possible that something may be wrong with your heart or lungs.

If your handgrip is strong you have a healthy heart and are less likely to die of a heart attack or stroke.

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