Certain individuals with very high cholesterol can have what are called xanthelasmas. These yellow, raised plaques can appear in many places, but around the eyes is especially common. While generally they don’t indicate a serious problem, you might want your doctor to check them out, just to make sure.
Although wrinkles are inevitable, they also may be a sign of osteoporosis.
Is your furrowed brow and grooved mouth ratting out your bones? Surprising new research reveals an association between wrinkles and bone health in early-menopausal women.
The worse the wrinkling, the greater the risk of lower bone density. Most wrinkles are the result of aging, but excessive exposure to cigarette smoke or the sun can speed the process.
Cracked lips are common in cold, dry weather, but there can be other reasons for the painful condition. Deficiency of the B vitamins can cause cracked lips in the corners of the mouth, also known as angular cheilitis. Don’t panic, though. Angular cheilitis may indicate a wide variety of other health issues from allergy to infection, so it’s best to check with your doctor before jumping to conclusions.
Dark skin patches
A ring of dark skin at the back of the neck may look like it’s crying out for a good scrubbing. But in reality, it may be acanthosis nigricans, a condition in which the skin appears darker and thicker—even velvety—along body creases.
People with insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity or, in rare cases, cancer, can develop these dark patches. Although not a definitive sign of diabetes, “It makes you think twice and do more workup,” says Heather Jones, a nurse practitioner at Oregon Health & Science University, in Portland, and a member of the Dermatology Nurses Association board of directors.
Eek! What should you make of that glob of hair at the bottom of the shower? Pregnancy, stress, disease, medications, and changes in hormones all can contribute to hair loss.
Among women in particular, dry, thinning hair may be a sign of an underactive or overactive thyroid. A simple blood test can check whether the body is making normal amounts of thyroid hormone.
Some people are born with thin eyebrows. But if you start to notice your eyebrows are shrinking you may have a thyroid condition. Loss of hair from the outside edge of the eyebrow can be an early sign of hypothyroidism.
Hair where you don’t want it is embarrassing for sure, but it also can be a sign of more concerning health problems.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a common cause of increased hair growth in women of childbearing age, can cause infertility and infrequent, irregular, or absent periods. More than 70% of women with PCOS have hirsutism, or excess hair growth, typically appearing on the face, chest, stomach, back, hands, or feet.
While most people think they’d notice if the white of their eyes were turning yellow, this can sometimes be very subtle. Yellow eyes are often a sign of jaundice, which is a condition caused by liver problems. If the liver is sick, it can’t break down a yellow pigment made when blood cells are broken down. This starts to build up in the body and turns your eyes yellow.
Everyone experiences dry skin from time to time. Usually it’s a minor nuisance caused by wintry air or overly hot showers, but in some cases parched, brittle skin is a sign of dehydration or serious health problems. Hypothyroidism and diabetes can both leach moisture from the skin, for instance, as can nutrient deficiencies associated with a poor diet or eating disorders.
Atherosclerosis, the narrowing of arteries that leads to heart disease, can affect skin as well—especially on the feet, legs, and shins. If the tiny arteries that carry blood to the extremities become blocked, they can deprive the skin of oxygen, producing dry, shiny patches.
White Around the Iris
The iris is the colored part of your eye and normally the line between the white of the eye and the iris is sharp. It’s normal in older people for a white, hazy line to start to develop around the outside of this colorful ring. This is called arcus senilis. In younger people, though, it can indicate high cholesterol that may be concerning. If it shows up only on one side, it may signal a blood vessel issue.
A foul mouth
Bad teeth and gums aren’t just signs of poor oral hygiene. Your mouth could be saying nasty things about your heart and bones.
In 2010, Scottish researchers reporting in the British Medical Journal found that tooth brushing lowers the risk of heart disease. Compared with twice-a-day brushers, people who brushed less frequently had a 70% greater risk of heart disease or death from heart disease. Tooth loss also can signal osteoporosis. Missing teeth may mean jawbone density can no longer support a mouthful of pearly whites.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with having a thick neck, those who have one are at higher risk for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where the airway gets repeatedly blocked when you go to sleep, causing you to wake over and over at night to breathe. The condition is linked to a variety of health problems including high blood pressure. Look for loud snoring as another sign you might be a sufferer.
Shoes too snug? Many conditions, 9 can cause feet and ankles to balloon. Pregnancy, obesity, and certain medications may cause fluid retention in the lower extremities.
So can certain diseases. If you’re one of the 5 million Americans with heart failure, you may be retaining fluid because of your heart’s poor pumping action. Swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet is a classic symptom of this condition.