Correctly interpret body signals

If something is wrong with our health, our body often sends warning signals. For example, stomach problems or headaches can be the result of stress or a lot of mental stress. But even external signs such as pale skin, tongue coating or discolored fingernails can be evidence of illness or deficiency symptoms. We explain how to interpret these warning signs of your body correctly.

1. Torn corners of the mouth as a warning signal

Torn corners of the mouth (rhagades) are manifested by small mouth sores, which often ache when talking and burn with every touch. These fissures can be caused by dry lips and the associated habit of constantly licking their lips with their tongues, causing the skin to dry out and tear.

Viruses, bacteria or fungi, for example herpes simplex or streptococci, are also possible causes of the inflamed corners of the mouth. In addition, iron deficiency or a lack of vitamin B2 can cause the symptoms.

If the symptoms occur again and again, a doctor should clarify the cause. Because even diseases such as diabetes, psoriasis or allergies can be the cause of the complaints.

As a home remedy for torn corners of the mouth, by the way, honey is suitable because it makes the lips supple and at the same time has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

2. Tongue covering as an indication of illness

If our tongue is healthy, it is pale pink and usually shows a thin whitish tongue coating, which comes from food leftovers and harmless germs. However, with a strong covering of the tongue, the body can express the presence of a disease.

Among other things, depending on the color of the tongue covering, the following triggers may be present:

  • White: Cold, gastrointestinal diseases or oral thrush
  • yellowish: fungal infections or disorders of bile and liver
  • red (raspberry tongue): infectious diseases, vitamin B12 deficiency, gastrointestinal problems and diseases of the liver and heart
  • brown: intestinal diseases, kidney problems
  • gray: iron deficiency or anemia
  • black (hairy tongue): disturbed oral flora as a side effect of antibiotics

In addition to the color of the tongue covering the tongue can also provide further evidence of health. For example, a dry or swollen tongue may indicate various diseases.

3. Dark circles and swollen eyelids

Dark circles and thick eyelids are often associated with lack of sleep or over-consumption of alcohol. In fact, there does not always have to be an unhealthy lifestyle behind the apparitions.

On the one hand dark circles are not uncommon, especially in light-skinned people, but on the other hand they can also be signs of nutrient deficiency (iron or zinc) or a deficiency of the blood with oxygen as well as diseases of the liver, kidneys and metabolism.

Swelling of the eyelids is also an indication of allergies, high blood pressure, the onset of shingles, heart failure or kidney disease.

4. Paleness can have many causes

Everyone has their own skin color. But a sudden change in color may be an indication that something is wrong with the body. For example, pale skin is a well-known sign of physical discomfort. A dull complexion can not only be an indication of too little sun.

Temporary paleness may indicate circulatory problems, infections or low blood sugar (for example, diabetes). However, if the paleness lasts longer and is also associated with pale mucous membranes, this is a warning signal for more serious problems. Possible causes of pale skin are:

  • Anemia, for example due to a lack of iron, folic acid or vitamin B12 or due to kidney weakness
  • low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Hypothyroidism (hypothyroidism)
  • Unrecognized bleeding in the body, such as a stomach ulcer
  • in heavy smokers: so-called "smoker's skin" due to lack of oxygen

5. Yellowish skin and yellow eyes

If you notice when looking in the mirror that the skin and the otherwise white part of the eyes are yellowish, you should consult a doctor. Because yellowish skin, especially in conjunction with yellow eyes, may be an indication of jaundice. Discoloration occurs when the concentration of bilirubin (a red cell depletion product) in the body is increased.

Possible causes of these symptoms include:

  • Diseases of the liver (for example due to liver inflammation, liver cirrhosis or infection with hepatitis B)
  • Illnesses of bile (for example because of a gallstone or bile due to inflammation)
  • Blood disorders (due to poisoning, for example)

6. Thin hair and hair loss

Dull, brittle hair and hair loss can occur as a result of long-term stress or simply hereditary. Other possible reasons for the complaints are:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • hormonal causes (for example menopause or pregnancy)
  • Lack of nutrients (zinc, iron, biotin, copper or protein)
  • Metabolic diseases (for example diabetes mellitus)
  • Poisoning and serious infections
  • Side effect of drugs
  • Autoimmune reaction of the body (in case of circular hair loss)

In many of these cases, hair loss can be dealt with as soon as you know the exact causes.

7. Color of fingernails

If the fingernails are discolored, this can have very different causes. For example, white patches may be the harmless result of a nail root injury (such as a manicure that is a bit too rough) and may self-grow out. On the other hand, white stripes (so-called Mees stripes) may be the result of poisoning or feverish disease.

If the complete nail is discolored, the following causes may be considered:

  • Contact with chemicals such as cleaning agents or nail polish
  • vitamin deficiency
  • Side effect of drugs
  • Disorders of the skin, metabolism, heart or kidneys
  • poisoning

In addition, the color of the discoloration allows conclusions about their cause. For example, the following colors can have the following causes:

  • black: bruising due to bruising
  • brownish or blue-black spots: moles, but also skin cancer
  • yellowish: jaundice or liver problems
  • greenish: Infestation with bacteria or mold
  • whitish and cloudy (frosted glass nails): liver cirrhosis or inflammatory bowel disease

8. Shape of fingernails

If the fingernails have grooves, this is not necessarily a cause for concern. Because fine longitudinal grooves are usually harmless. They may be a sign of aging or a sign of lack of fluids.

For thick, isolated longitudinal grooves, it is advisable to see a doctor, because these grooves may be signs of a nail tumor. Cross grooves, also referred to as Beau lines or Beau Reil furrows, are often the result of a serious illness, such as an acute infection.

If the fingernails bulge upwards (watch glass nails), this can indicate anemia and diseases of the liver and lungs. Inwardly arched nails (spoon nails) are considered to be signs of gastrointestinal disease.

Fragile fingernails can be caused by a lack of calcium and magnesium as well as various trace elements. Similarly, peeling fingernails are a signal of the body for missing minerals or trace elements.

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