What Your Hands Can Tell You About Your Health

Human hands are part of what sets them apart from other species living on Earth. Our hands are full of dexterity and ability. With opposable thumbs, we can pick up almost any item and do almost anything that we desire. Did you know though that human hands can also say something pretty important about your health? Hands are not only one of the greatest tools given to humans; they are also one of the key body parts to be examined by doctors for medical issues that are occurring all over your body. Here are a few ways that your own hands may be telling you that something is seriously wrong with your health.

Bony Outgrowths

Bony outgrowths or nodules on the joints in your fingers can be a sign of arthritic conditions. There are numerous types of arthritis that can affect your entire body and they can all cause widespread inflammation, pain and swelling. Bony outgrowths and nodules are often a sign of late stage arthritis that has been affecting you for many years. If your fingers have felt swollen, painful, hot and have these nodules on them then talk with your doctor about receiving treatment otherwise you will continue to get these nodules on your hands.

Rubbery Tissues

The appearance of rubbery tissue on your hands or fingers may be a sign of poorly controlled rheumatoid arthritis. If you have been diagnosed with this autoimmune disorder, and notice rubbery tissue patches come up on your skin, then speak with your doctor as soon as possible. These tissue patches are a sign that you may need to change your medications and undergo more aggressive treatment to get your immune system in control.

Changing Colors

Many people experience their fingers and nail beds changing colors. Often the change in color is from normal tissue color to blue, then red. This medical issue is known as Raynaud’s phenomenon, which causes the blood vessels in your fingers and toes to narrow in response to coldness or stress. Once the blood supply returns to normal to these areas, the tissues will turn red. Raynaud’s phenomenon can occur on its own, however it most often occurs in conjunction with an autoimmune disorder. If you experience this often, then speak with your doctor about getting tested to rule out any autoimmune diseases.

Crumbling Nails

Crumbling nails can be a sign of numerous medical conditions. The most common is a fungal infection. Fungi can infiltrate your nails and cause them to crumble. Another cause of crumbling nails is psoriasis, which is a skin condition. Psoriatic arthritis can also be a culprit of crumbling nails.

Thickened Skin

Thickened skin on your fingers and hands can cause great discomfort. If your skin has greatly thickened, then you may experience difficulties moving your hands and fingers. Thickened skin is known as scleroderma medically, which is caused from the buildup of collagen in your skin cells. If you notice your skin thickening, then talk to your doctor as soon as you can. Scleroderma can be treated, and with treatment, your skin may return to normal and you will be able to move your hands freely again. Scleroderma should also be discussed with your doctors because it could be a sign of a larger autoimmune disorder occurring in your body.

Blotchy Palms

Blotchy, red palms that come on even when you have not been gripping onto items or using your hands could be a sign of an impending medical condition. Red palms are known medically as palmar erythema, which can be a sign of liver disease. Specifically, red palms can be a sign of cirrhosis of the liver and nonalcoholic fatty liver. As your liver begins to become inflamed, your body will no longer be able to flush waste products and toxins out of your body. The excess of these solutes in your blood will result in your blood vessels dilating. In turn, the palms of your hands and feet may turn red and blotchy on occasion. If you do experience red palms often, then talk with your doctor in order to be checked for liver disease. Any disease process that affects your liver can be very serious, and should be addressed immediately.

Swollen Fingers

If your fingers swell often, just out of the blue, then you may be having thyroid issues. Whenever your thyroid becomes under active, your body will produce less and less hormones that regulate your metabolism. Overtime, your body will begin to gain weight and will retain water. Your fingers and toes can swell, and will stay swollen. If your fingers swell then go down after drinking proper amounts of water and reducing your salt intake, then a thyroid issue is not probably something you should worry about. However, if the swelling stays put and you also notice that you have been feeling sluggish and have been gaining weight, then you may be experiencing hypothyroidism. Call your doctor to schedule a simple blood test, and you will be able to determine if your thyroid is under active.

Your hands can tell you and your doctor a lot about your health. You utilize your hands on a daily basis, and they take a lot of wear and tear. However, your hands, just like your feet, are resilient and will always bounce back. That is why, if you notice anything wrong with your hands, fingers or joints, you need to talk with your family doctor as soon as you can. Many health problems, especially arthritic conditions and autoimmune conditions, can show tell-tale signs on your hands. If you notice any of these symptoms above on your hands, or anything else out of the norm that does not go away on its own, speak with your doctor Call your doctor with any concerns, and keep track of what symptoms you experience and how long the symptoms last.

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