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Health & Wellbeing / Claire Blackmore

You’ll Never Guess What Your Hands Reveal About Your Health

Apart from when you’re painting your fingernails, giving your hands a wash or slipping on a ring or two, how often do you take a really good look at your mitts? Probably not that often.

Surprisingly though, they can be a window to your wellbeing ­– check out these handy signs that reveal tons about your health….

Too hot to handle

“Let me shake your sweaty hand,” said no one ever. Excessively hot and sweaty palms are beyond yuck for all involved and can be a sign of stress ­– nerves are a trigger obvs ­– or more seriously, a thyroid problem. An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) speeds up your metabolism meaning your body generates more heat.

Finger of fun (not so much)

Swollen sausage fingers are a sign of fluid retention and can be caused by a high sodium diet – cutting down on processed foods that are loaded with salt and choosing water-rich foods such as fruit and veg will help rid the body of excess fluid.

If you find your fingertips turning white or blue, you may be suffering from Raynauld’s syndrome, which causes pain, tingling and numbness of the fingers. Ouch. Raynauld’s syndrome is linked to poor circulation and can be helped by keeping warm, exercising regularly and reducing stress levels, says the NHS.

Slightly random, but take a look at your finger length for a second. Researchers at the University of Nottingham found that people with an index finger shorter than their ring finger have a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis – the most common form of arthritis.

Nailing it

If you press down on your fingernails and they stay white for more than a minute, or always look pale, you could be anemic. Anemia can be caused by an iron deficiency due to heavy or long periods, so get your blood levels checked out by your doctor and stock up on iron-rich foods such as red meat, leafy greens and nuts.

Weak, delicate nails are not just annoying they can indicate a zinc deficiency too. Eating lamb, spinach, pumpkin seeds and cashew nuts can boost your zinc levels. Soft and bendy nails (yup, equally annoying) may mean you’re lacking in calcium or protein.

You may sometimes notice ridges on your nails, but the direction of them is super-important. Vertical lines or ridges are common and are generally just associated with aging – almost like wrinkles. If you spot horizontal ridges however you should hotfoot it to the GP to rule out anything more sinister as they can sometimes indicate an underlying health problem.

It’s a skin thing

If you pinch the skin on the back of your hand, what happens? If it snaps back straight away, all good. If it remains pinched before it slowly flattens again, it’s likely you’re dehydrated. Staying hydrated is important for your body to function properly so don’t wait until you’re parched with crinkly hand skin, sip water slowly throughout the day.

We all take good care of our faces, moisturizing twice a day and slapping on the SPF, but what about our poor, neglected hands? They don’t get nearly as much love. The backs of hands are subjected to either cold weather or sun exposure all year round which can result in cracked, dry skin that can gets sore and itchy if not looked after. Use sun protection out and about and lashings of moisturizer before you go to sleep – the good enough to eat Patisserie de Bain hand cream in April’s parcel, will give them a right treat.

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