You can tell a lot about the state of your health by looking at your hands.
From how sturdy your nails are, to how easy it is to bend your fingers, there are plenty of warning signs you could be under the weather.
Start by doing these five simple checks below – and make sure to see a doctor if there's cause for concern.
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1. White marks on nails
The technical term for these white speckles is leukonychia.
And according to Healthline, there are several reasons why you could be experiencing them.
An allergic reaction can cause the markings to appear, like when your body reacts badly to nail polish, gloss, hardener or varnish remover.
If you believe this to be the case, stop using these products for a while to see if the spots disappear.
Leukonychia could also indicate you are battling a fungal infection.
Other indicators of this problem include brittle nails or mineral deficiencies.
If you have moles on your skin, it's important to track them for any changes.
While many cases are benign, Dr Seth Rankin says changes in your complexion could be an indicator of skin cancer.
He recommends looking out for the ABCDE rule, which goes as follows:
- A is for Asymmetry – when the two halves of your mole do not look the same
- B is for Border– if any of the edges are ragged or look irregular
- C is for Colour – if your mole has different colours
- D is for Diameter – you might need to get your ruler out to see if the mole is larger than 6 millimetres
- E is for Elevated or Enlarged – have your moles changed in size or texture?
Other factors to look out for are:
- a sore that will not heal
- if the pigment around the spot/mole spreads into the surrounding skin
- swelling or redness beyond the border of the mole
- if the mole starts to feel itchy, tender or painful
- if the surface of the mole begins to ooze, bleed, or a sudden appearance of a lump or bump
It's advisable to get your moles checked by a doctor if you have any concerns about them.
3. Finger clubbing
A simple finger test could determine early signs of lung cancer, it has been reported.
The test can be done at home and could show if you have finger clubbing, the swelling and softening of fingers and nails.
It can be a sign of underlying health conditions, particularly ones that impact the lungs or heart, including cancer and mesothelioma.
According to Cancer Research UK, more than 35% of people with non-small cell lung cancer experience finger clubbing.
The charity says it can be found in some people with thyroid problems, or other conditions, like ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.
It can be checked by doing the Schamroth window test – or window gap test.
Press your thumbnails or index finger together and see if there is a small diamond-shaped window between them.
If you cannot see a window then it is possible you have finger clubbing and you should seek medical advice.
4. Trigger finger
Do you find it difficult to bend your fingers or thumb?
You could have trigger finger, which is a condition that causes tendons to become swollen and inflamed.
This can cause pain, as well as a clicking sensation and make it difficult to move your hands.
The NHS adds: “Trigger finger occurs if there's a problem with the tendon or sheath, such as inflammation and swelling.
“If the tendon can no longer slide easily through the sheath it can bunch up to form a small lump (nodule).
“This makes bending the affected finger or thumb difficult. If the tendon gets caught in the sheath, the finger can click painfully as it's straightened…
“Long-term conditions, such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, are also associated with trigger finger.”
5. Ridged nails
Bumps in your nails could suggest that your diet is lacking in nutrients.
It could also point to skin disorders and other illnesses.
Dr Samantha Eisman, a Consultant Dermatologist at Sinclair Dermatology, and beauty professional Tracey Winder of Mavala recently spoke about the problem.
The health experts told Daily Mail: “Ridges often indicate a lack of the mineral sulphur in your diet.
“The mineral sulphur is readily available in protein-rich foods such as meat, poultry, eggs and milk."
In these instances, ridges are often nothing to worry about.
Incorporating more minerals into your diet could help to make the bumps disappear.
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