Friday 27 February 2015

Your hands can say a lot about your overall health.culled

You see them every single day, but when's the last time you really looked at your hands? If it's been a while, you may want to start studying. Everything from raggedy nails to shaky digits could signal that's something's up with your health.
If your hands are shaking uncontrollably, first, don't panic. One simple explanation for hand tremors can be that you've had too much caffeine. And some medications, including asthma drugs and antidepressants, can also prompt your hands to tremble. However, if none of these causes are to blame, or you develop unexplained tremors that occur frequently, see your doctor. A more rare cause could be Parkinson's disease, a disorder of the nervous system that affects movement, says David E. Bank, MD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia in New York City.
Cracked or Weak Nails
If your nails seem more delicate than a fancy wine glass, you may have a zinc deficiency. According to Bank, zinc may help with the growth and renewal of skin cells. Consider adding zinc-rich foods to you diet to see if that prompts improvement. Some options: wheat germ, oats, nuts, and meat. (Here are 6 more things your nails say about your health.)
Peeling and Flaky Skin
If the skin on your fingertips is suddenly flaky, you may have a vitamin B deficiency. B vitamins such as niacin (B3) and biotin (vitamin B7) are extra important for healthy skin, says Bank. "Taking a biotin supplement helps to promote healthy skin and nail growth; niacin helps protect and repair skin by preventing the formation of melanin, boosting collagen growth, and improving your skin's natural moisture barrier." In addition to taking a supplement, add niacin-rich foods such as fish, peanuts, and mushrooms, and biotin-rich foods such as avocados and tuna, to your diet.
Dryness, Itchiness, and Rash
Vitamin E
If it feels like no lotion is ever a match for your rough hands, you may have eczema, a skin condition that makes skin itchy, dry, or break out in rashes. Speak to your physician and see if you might need a prescription-strength ointment or cream to help restore your skin. If your doc determines that you don't have eczema and that your hands are simply dry, use rich moisturizers that contain vitamin A. "Repeated hand washing, which can dry your hands, and then touching paper and other harsh materials all day long, will doubly dry them out," Banks says. Also apply vitamin E to cuticles at night. "Because we don't wash our hands while we sleep, these products will have a good amount of time to penetrate into your skin," he says.
Pale or White Nail Beds
This type of discoloration can be a sign of anemia, which means you're not making enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your tissues, says Bank. A routine blood test can check for anemia, and treatment generally consists of iron supplementation—but requires an appropriate medical evaluation first.
Blue Fingertips
Fingertips that change in color from white to blue to red can signal Raynaud's syndrome. "This condition causes coldness of the fingers and toes and can be accompanied by pain, numbness and tingling," Bank says. Experts believe Raynaud's occurs due to a spasm of blood vessels and decreased circulation, but the cause remains unknown. The best treatment: wearing gloves, taking prescribed medication, and avoiding emotional stress, smoking, and exposure to cold temperatures.
MORE: 10 Solutions For Perpetually Cold Hands And Feet
Flexible Nails
Nails that are soft and bendable can indicate a calcium or protein deficiency. "One of the signs of hypocalcemia—low calcium—can be brittle nails or dry scaly skin and coarse hair," Bank says. "Protein deficiencies can present as nail ridges as well." Be sure you eat a diet rich in dairy products as well as sardines and spinach. If that doesn't help, see your doc. (Can't do dairy? Check out these 10 dairy-free sources of calcium.)
A Dark Pigmented Streak
If you see a dark streak in your nail bed, seek medical help immediately, warns Bank. The mark can indicate an early melanoma, but know that this type of nail bed skin cancer is quite rare—it accounts for just 1 to 3% of all cases of melanoma, according to one Italian study. Tip: always remove nail polish before a doctor's appointment so your nails can be thoroughly evaluated by an expert.
Brown Spots
These are age and liver spots, which are directly caused by sun exposure. Hands are extra-prone to sun damage since they absorb additional UV-rays from their position on the steering wheel when you're driving, Bank says. So be sure to slather a high SPF on your hands when you know you'll be exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods of time. Try these tips to make your hands look younger.


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