We often think that being diagnosed with an illness such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke or cancer as something that happens out of the blue. That we are healthy one day then, suddenly, we are chronically ill the next. But did you know that our bodies give us warning signs of poor health long before we get diagnosed with disease?
Our bodies speak to us in subtle ways, ways that are often ignored or dismissed, until it’s too late.
Can you tell if your body is in danger? Here are some of the warning signs.
You Sleep Poorly
Poor sleep is a common thing that many people suffer from periodically throughout their lives, but it can also be a symptom of a bigger problem. The stress hormone, cortisol, fluctuates throughout the day, lowering at night, to allow your body to recharge and repair itself. High levels of cortisol at night can cause insomnia.
If you are under stress, your body releases adrenal hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which increase alertness and make it difficult to relax. Frequent or constant stress elevates these hormones and affects your ability to get a good night’s sleep.
If you feel like you are under a lot of stress, then this may be the reason for your poor sleep. Anything that helps you to relax will in turn reduce the levels of cortisol and allow you to sleep more peacefully. Being mindful of your moods and triggers can help you pin point what may be causing stress and help you to identify methods to reduce it. Relaxation techniques at night, such as meditation or deep breathing, may also help you sleep better.
You Have a Nagging Cough
A nagging cough can be triggered by numerous causes such as infection, allergies, asthma or sinus problems. However, if you have a cough that will not disappear, and you are not sick or do not suffer from allergies, or asthma, it’s important to get yourself checked out.
While a cough doesn’t always mean that you have cancer, it’s also an indication that something is not right. A nagging cough is usually one of the first symptoms of lung cancer, throat cancer or cancer of the larynx. If you have a cough that will not go away, a visit to your doctor could save your life.
Rough Spots on Your Skin
Crusty blemishes, known as keratosis, are usually benign. Known as seborrheic keratosis, this benign condition appears as a brown, black or light tan growth on the face, chest, shoulders or back, and has a slightly waxy feel.
Actinic keratosis, also known as solar keratosis, on the other hand, is not a benign condition. These look similar to seborrheic keratosis; however, these patches appear on your skin due to years of sun exposure. Actinic keratosis is most often found on the face, lips, ears, back of your hands, forearms, scalp or neck. These patches take years to develop and are most commonly found in adults over 40.
If you have any keratosis spots, it’s important to get it checked out by a dermotologist, as a small percentage of actinic keratosis lesions will eventually become skin cancer.
The best course of action is always prevention! The best way to protect yourself from skin cancer is to protect your skin from UV rays by wearing a good sunscreen and avoiding exposure to the sun.
In most cases skin tags are not a cause for concern, as they are benign (non-cancerous) and totally harmless. For most people, they are a cosmetic concern more than anything else, however, there is some medical research that suggests that developing skin tags could be a symptom of deteriorating health.
In a paper published earlier this year in the Spanish researchers found a significant link between skin tags and insulin levels, suggesting that skin tags could be a potential early warning sign of diabetes. Similar results were found in a Brazilian study, which also showed a significant link between the presence of skin tags and insulin resistance.
The reasoning for this is that when the body is unable to properly regulate blood sugar levels, the cause of diabetes, systemic inflammation increases. This inflammation, in turn, can cause abnormal cell turn over in the skin leading to increased skin tags.
Please consult a medical practitioner before attempting to remove a skin tag.
You Have a Wide, Short, Round head
If you have a wide short head, then you may be at a higher risk of sleep apnea. People with short heads also have short airways, which are more easily obstructed. Sleep apnea is a disorder in which affected individuals have one or more pauses in breathing while they sleep. These pauses can last seconds to minutes and leave you tired, groggy, foggy and forgetful.
There isn’t anything that can be done about the shape of your head, but if you think you may be affected by sleep apnea, know that it is a common condition that can be easily diagnosed and treated with the help of your doctor.
You Have a Large or Colorful Mole
Almost everyone has a few moles, on average, anywhere from 10 to 45 of them. Most moles appear during childhood and adolescence, but it’s not uncommon to find new ones up until the age of 40. A mole is a dark brown spot on the skin caused by clusters of pigmented cells.
Moles are generally benign; however, if your moles are large or colorful it could mean that you have melanoma – the most common type of skin cancer. It can be difficult to determine if a mole is harmful on your own, however there are some signs that you can look for. Apply the A-B-C-D rule. Asymmetry, the mole should be symmetrical and round. Border, moles should not be irregularly shaped. Color, does the hue of the mole change across its surface. Diameter, anything larger than a pencil eraser can be worrisome. If you notice any of these signs it’s important to get checked out by a dermatologist to rule out anything serious.
You’re Always Tired
Don’t dismiss exhaustion, paying attention to your fatigue just might save your life. Yes, life can make you tired and there is often so much going on that we can excuse being tired some of the time. But if you find yourself chronically exhausted and just aren’t able to pinpoint why, it might be a warning sign that there is something going on.
The list of conditions that can cause fatigue is lengthy and includes thyroid disorders, heart disease, anemia, depression, diabetes and psychological disorders, among others. If you are always tired it might be time to see your doctor for a regular check-up and further testing.
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Your fingernails can tell you many things about your health, so pay attention to them. A horizontal line, called a Beau’s line, occurs due to past illness or poor nutrition. If you have spoon shaped nails, a condition called koilonychias, it could mean that have iron-deficiency anemia. If you have the above conditions and are also noticing that your nails are pale at the cuticle and reddish brown at the tip, it could mean that your kidneys are not functioning properly.
If you are frequently seeing abnormalities on your fingernails it is likely that you may be suffering from certain vitamin or mineral deficiencies, or even kidney disease. It is important to consult a doctor to determine the cause and to and take the necessary steps to improve your health.
Your feet are the farthest part of your body from your heart, and because of this, they are often the first place that vascular disease appears. Chronically cold feet, and hands too, are often linked to Raynaud’s syndrome, a disorder where the blood supply drains from fingers and toes.
Although it’s common practice to just put on a couple of pairs of socks and go about your day, getting checked out is important as Raynaud’s syndrome is linked to several autoimmune conditions such as progressive systemic sclerosis and mixed connective tissue disease.
Your Lips Crack, Especially at the Corners
If you find yourself dependent on an hourly dose if chapstick there may be more to the story than just chapped lips. Cracked lips is a symptom of a deficiency of B vitamins, particularly vitamin B12.
If your lips are chronically sore it might be worth adding a daily vitamin, or some vitamin B rich foods, to your chapstick routine.
Did you know that the same bacteria that cause gum disease can also cause heart disease? In addition, having more plaque in your mouth can lead to having more plaque in your arteries, which is a predictor of heart attack and stroke.
Inflammation is your bodies way of fighting off pathogens, it is also a warning sign that things may not be running as smoothly as they should. Thankfully, frequent dental cleanings can usually control gum disease if caught early enough. Your dental health is important and should not be ignored, as it is directly related to your overall health. Poor dental hygiene can predispose you to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Cold sores usually appear as tiny blisters on the lip. Cold sores are caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), which is passed from person to person via skin contact or saliva. Approximately 8 out of 10 people have HSV-1, and most are infected by the time they are 10.
For most people, when they are infected, the virus is dormant in the nerves of the face. However, for some people the virus becomes active at times causing cold sores. Cold sore outbreaks can be triggered by stress, trauma to the lips, sun exposure, colds or fever.
HSV-1 can also affect the eyes, and skin on the fingers and genitals. However, most cases of genital herpes are caused by herpes simplex type 2 (HSV-2).
Snoring is a common sign of sleep apnea, a sleeping disorder which is characterized by the obstruction of the airways. Sleep apnea has many causes, however the most common cause of sleep apnea in adults is excess weight and obesity, which can put extra pressure on the airway and cause it to periodically become blocked during sleep. Smoking, alcohol and sedatives can also worsen sleep apnea, so taking a sleeping pill is not the best course of action.
Sleep apnea can increase your risk of heart disease, and subsequent heart failure. Other symptoms of sleep apnea include sore throat, occasionally waking up gasping, morning headaches, lack of energy, restless sleep and forgetfulness. If you suspect that you may have sleep apnea a sleep study is necessary for diagnosis.
Body Hair Changes
Body hair develops on people during and after puberty, as its growth is related to the level of androgens, or sex hormones, in the individual. It is normal for body hair to change gradually over time as we age, however a sudden increase or loss in body hair should not be ignored, as it could mean that you have a hormone imbalance.
In addition, if you are a woman and experience both excessive hair growth and irregular periods, you may be suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is a condition where your ovaries become enlarged and contain small collections of fluid filled follicles. This condition causes several other symptoms including acne, weight gain and insulin resistance.
Unintentional Weight Loss
Weight loss tends to be something that people celebrate, and even complement others on. It can be excellent for your health and appearance, and can be a great accomplishment. However, if you have lost more than ten pounds with no diet or exercise changes you should make an appointment with your doctor.
Unintentional weight loss and changes in appetite can be a sign of many cancers, but this happens most often with pancreatic, stomach, esophageal, and lung cancers; and is especially common with lymphoma and leukemia.
Your Waist is Bigger Than Your Hips
Overweight people tend to fit into two categories: pear-shaped and apple-shaped. While being overweight on its own may be an indicator of poor health, if you are part of the latter group it might come as a surprise to you that you are at a higher risk of heart disease than your pear-shaped friends.
Being apple-shaped can also put you at a higher risk for insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, as abdominal fat causes naturally produced insulin to work less efficiently.
Bowel or Bladder Changes
If you have noticed a change in your bladder habits, such as having to urinate more often or feeling the strong urge to urinate without producing much urine, having troubles urinating, or having a weak urine stream it’s worth getting checked out. Changes in urination is an early warning sign of bladder cancer and prostate cancer.
If you have noticed a change in your bowel habits, it’s also worth getting checked out. While a bout of constipation is usually nothing to worry about, severe and persistent constipation could be due to an obstruction, and is a sign of colon cancer. In addition, if your stool takes on a very narrow or skinny shape, you should also be concerned, as there is a chance that something is restricting the colon, possibly due to polyps. Persistent diarrhea can also signal a problem.
Hemorrhoids are a common ailment, and in most cases, they flare up from time to time, but are nothing to worry about. However, if you have what appear to be hemorrhoids that do not respond to treatment, it’s important that you see a gastro intestinal specialist and have them checked out. Approximately 30% of patients with Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory disorder of the gastro intestinal tract, have a form that only affects the anal region. In these cases, the disorder appears as fleshy growths, sores or ulcerations that can be easily mistaken for hemorrhoids.
This type of Crohn’s disease is the most painful and does not have a good prognosis. If left untreated, Crohn’s disease can lead to painful fissures, bowel obstruction and even colon cancer. Testing for Crohn’s disease involves having a blood test to check white blood cell counts and other markers of the disease.
You’re Always Anxious
Anxiety is often a symptom of another problem. It can result from a variety of mental health problems like panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and stress disorders among other things. Anxiety can also be caused by external factors such as stress or drug use.
While anxiety causes physiological problems in some people, it’s also possible for this relationship to go the other way. Anxious feelings can result from sex hormone imbalances, hyperthyroidism, adrenal tumors, and more. If you’re having a difficult time finding the cause of your constant anxiety it might be beneficial to get your hormones checked.
Forgetting People’s Names
This happens to the best of us, but is it a reoccurring problem in your life? Stress and fatigue can cause memory lapses, but if you find yourself frequently forgetting people’s names, or even the items on your grocery list, you could be suffering from low levels of thyroid hormone. This can happen because without adequate amounts of thyroid hormone everything just slows down.
Other symptoms of hypothyroid include feeling cold, low libido, and food not tasting as good as it used to. People often don’t associate these feelings together or think that they are much of a problem, but if you feel that you live in a fog it may be time to visit your doctor.
You Have a Deep, Vertical Crease Down the Middle of Your Earlobe
Some studies have shown that people that have creases in their ear lobes are more likely to suffer from heart disease.
Scientists are not entirely sure why this relationship exists, but they have a theory that the crease shows a lack on elasticity, which also would affect your arteries. Aging is also a factor, as earlobe creases increase with age, so does the likelihood of developing heart disease.
You Have Hooded Eyelids
Hooded eyelids are naturally occurring in some families, however, the most common cause of drooping eyelids is aging, as the collagen in your skin breaks down and skin loses it elasticity. Most of the time hooded eyelids is purely a cosmetic issue, however if one or both eyelids are impairing your vision it should be corrected, as it can lead to astigmatism or permanent vision loss.
If only one eyelid is affected, or if aging is not the issue, there may be a more alarming reason for the droop. More serious causes for hooded eyelids include cranial nerve and brain injuries, such as brain tumor, stroke, aneurism and long term-diabetes. In addition, drooping eyelids can also be caused by diseases such as multiple sclerosis or muscular dystrophy.
Your Hair is Going Gray before 40
Silver, pewter, charcoal, salt and pepper – whatever color of the spectrum you end up on, gray hair happens to everyone at some point. This happens when color producing cells in your hair follicles stop producing pigment.
Going gray generally does not mean that you have a medical condition, except in rare cases. When you go gray will depends on genetic factors, but for some people, premature graying can be linked to other health problems. A vitamin B-12 deficiency or problems with your pituitary or thyroid gland can cause hair to turn gray. If this is the case, graying can be reversed when the problem is addressed.
You Have Short or Thinning Eyebrows
If you are losing hair from the outer edges of your eyebrows you may have an underactive thyroid. Your first instinct might be to pull out the eyebrow pencil, but if your eyebrows are thinning or have even disappeared, on the outer edge, it’s time to have your thyroid checked.
Once you are properly diagnosed and treated it’s very likely that your eyebrows will gradually grow back in.
Damage to Your Teeth
Dental damage is something that can happen for a variety of reasons, and when we think of dental decay and enamel wearing down, we often consider diet to be the culprit. However, while sugary foods and drinks will wear down your teeth, they tend to do the most damage to the front teeth. When enamel has worn down and damage is located on the teeth at the back of the mouth this is usually due to acid reflux.
Believe it or not many people who have acid reflux are asymptomatic until this detail is noticed by their dentist. Other subtle, but visible, symptoms of reflux include sore throat, coughing, and frequent foul taste in the mouth. If you, or your dentist, have noticed any of these symptoms it’s important to see a doctor to get your acid reflux treated. If left untreated acid reflux will not only cause tooth decay, it may also increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer.
You Have Pale Skin
If you’ve recently noticed that your skin is a few shades lighter than its regular tone, it could mean that your blood flow had reduced, or that your body is not producing an adequate amount of red blood cells. Skin pigment is a good indicator of health, and whether it’s a good idea to seek nutritional or medical advice from professionals.
Pale skin could also indicate anemia, a condition where your blood does not carry enough oxygen to the rest of your body. The most common cause of anemia is low iron levels. Iron is an important mineral, as your body needs it to make hemoglobin, the component of your red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout your body.
Other symptoms of anemia include fatigue, breathlessness, headache and dizziness. If you suspect that you have anemia it’s important to seek medical attention for both diagnosis and advice on supplementation.
There are Tiny Red Lines Under Your Fingernails
If you have small hemorrhages under your fingernails or toenails, and haven’t recently bumped or injured them, it could be a sign that something is not right.Tiny red streaks under your nails, also called splinter hemorrhages, are caused by broken blood vessels under the nail when small blood clots damage the capillaries. This can indicate a serious condition called endocarditis.
Endocarditis occurs when bacteria or other pathogens from one part of your body spread through the bloodstream and attach to the valves in your heart. Endocarditis, in its early stages, is treated with a simple course of antibiotics, however, if left untreated it can lead to life-threatening complications.
You Have Tripe Palms
This visual health sign is a problem that cannot be ignored. Tripe palms have an appearance similar to cooked tripe – the stomach lining of beef, sheep or pork. The skin of the palm becomes thick and velvety-white with pronounced folds in the lines of the hand.
Approximately 90 percent of cases of tripe palms are associated with cancer. Thankfully this disorder is very rare, however, if you have tripe palms, or even suspect that you do, it’s important to see your doctor as soon as possible.
Although there are medications to help, impotence is not something that should be treated simply or ignored. If someone is suffering from impotence, it’s vital that they get their heart checked out, especially if they have a family history of heart disease.
This is because the arteries in the penis are smaller than anywhere else in the body, and in many cases, impotence is one of the first warning signs of heart disease. In fact, men over the age of 45 who suffer from impotence are up to 60 percent more likely to be hospitalized for heart problems over a four-year period. It may be an embarrassing problem, but it’s important not to ignore this visual health sign and to have a thorough evaluation by your doctor.
You Make Frequent Bathroom Trips
Drinking plenty of water is good for you, however, if you find that you are chronically thirsty and are frequently visiting the washroom, even in your sleep, it’s important to see your doctor. When people start to develop type-2 diabetes the cells in their body will become less and less capable of absorbing and using blood sugar. Thus, sugar builds up in the blood stream and becomes toxic. As a last resort, the body will try to flush out the excess sugar via urination.
If this visual health symptom describes you, ask your doctor about getting an A1c blood test, which measures your blood glucose levels over a 3-month period. The sooner type-2 diabetes is diagnosed, the better your prognosis, as your high blood sugar will do much less damage to your organs.
You Have an Itchy, Blistery Skin Rash
A rash is a reaction by your body. If you have a reoccurring rash on your elbows, knees, butt, back or scalp that looks like eczema, it could be a more serious issue. Coeliac (celiac) disease, an autoimmune condition in which consuming even the smallest amount of gluten, causes the body to attack its own intestines. Approximately 25 percent of people affected with coeliac disease develop this rash, named dermatitis herpetiformis, and many have no digestive symptoms.
When a person who has coeliac disease eats gluten, the body releases antibodies that attack the intestines and builds up under the skin triggering the rash. If you have a suspicious rash, doctors can diagnose whether or not you have coeliac disease without the need to undergo and uncomfortable endoscopy, instead they are able to simply biopsy the rash to determine if it is caused by antibodies that indicate coeliac.
When your diet is changed to gluten-free, not only will the rash vanish, you will also be protecting your body from long term intestinal damage, cancer of the small intestine and from osteoporosis.
You Have Unexplained Bleeding
Bleeding is never a good sign, and often means that you are suffering from a serious illness.
Coughing up blood can be a sign of serious infection, cancer, and problems in the blood vessels in your lungs.
Abnormal vaginal bleeding occurs when you have bleeding that is not during your regular menstrual period, when the menstrual flow is lighter or heavier than what is normal for you, or when it occurs at a time in life that is unexpected – pre-puberty, during pregnancy or after menopause. Bleeding can be caused by a variety of factors including abnormal growths such as fibroids or polyps. In most cases, they are benign and can be removed surgically, however, if left untreated they can develop into reproductive cancers such as ovarian, uterine or cervical cancers.
Blood in stool means there is bleeding somewhere in your digestive tract. In most cases, it is caused by hemorrhoids, swollen blood vessels in the rectum or anus that can be painful, itchy, and can sometimes bleed. Rectal bleeding can also be caused by other medical conditions, such as the presence of an anal fissure or polyp. Colon and rectal cancers can cause a significant volume of blood to pass from your rectum.
Blood in urine, called hematuria, is usually caused by urinary tract or bladder infection and can be painful. However, if you are experiencing blood in your urine with little or no pain or other symptoms it could signal the early stages of bladder or kidney cancer.
Bloody nipple discharge can be a symptom of a benign, noncancerous, breast disorder such as, infection (mastitis) or intraductal papilloma – a small growth in the milk ducts. Bloody nipple discharge can also be an early symptom of breast cancer, especially if only one breast is affected, you have a lump in your breast, and the discharge is spontaneous and persistent.
If you are experiencing unexplained bleeding from any part of your body it’s important to get it looked at right away, as it is abnormal.
Your Eyes are Bloodshot
Everyone gets bloodshot eyes occasionally and it isn’t usually a major concern. However, if your eyes are sore or you have impaired vision it may be a sign of a bigger problem.
Occasionally a bright red spot, called a sub conjunctival hemorrhage, will show up in the white of the eye. This is caused by a broken blood vessel in the eye and can happen for a variety of reasons including straining your eyes or excessive coughing. Most of the time there is no pain and, just like a bruise, the red spot will go away on its own within a couple of weeks.
If your skin is starting to darken and you haven’t been spending time in the sun, it may be worth reporting to your doctor. While hyperpigmentation is a common, and usually harmless condition, it could be caused by a rare condition called Addison’s disease. Addison’s disease is an endocrine disorder in which the adrenal glands do not produce enough cortisol. Other early symptoms of Addison’s disease include abdominal pain, weakness and weight loss.
If left untreated Addison’s disease can be life threatening, as a lack of cortisol can lead to extremely low blood pressure, vomiting, seizure and loss of consciousness.
You Have Small Round Bald Spots on Your Head
Baldness in round patches is atypical and is usually caused by alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder in which your immune system attacks hair follicles. Alopecia areata occurs in about 3% of individuals and affects men and women equally. In some cases, alopecia is linked to thyroid disorders such as hypothyroid and Hashimoto’s disease.
In most people regrowth is possible, as the hair follicles are not permanently damaged. In some people the hair will regrow on its own, for others treatment with steroids can encourage regrowth. If the cause of your hair loss is due to a thyroid problem, in most cases, treatment of the thyroid disorder will initiate regrowth.
Random Bursts of Anger
Being angry or irritable most of the time is not a personality trait that should be ignored. While many people associate depression with feelings of sadness and lethargy, they don’t realize that anger and irritability occur in almost half of people suffering from depression. While women are more likely to suffer from depression in general, men are more likely to exhibit these feelings as a symptom of their depression.
If you find yourself constantly yelling or nipping at your friends or family or the smallest annoyance gets you hot headed, there’s a good chance that you might be suffering from depression.
You Suddenly Have Difficulty Managing Finances
If you are noticing that you, or someone you know, is suddenly having trouble managing their finances (ie: paying for a purchase, counting change, calculating a tip, understanding a bank statement, paying bills, etc.) they may be having more than just a senior’s moment. Over time, people with Alzheimer’s disease lose their capacity to perform the financial tasks associated with daily living. Increasing trouble managing finances can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease and often, it goes unaddressed until it’s too late.
Difficulty completing other daily tasks, like following a recipe or driving to a routine location, is also another early warning sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
Your Neck is Swollen
A swollen neck should never be ignored. If you notice that your neck is swelling in the front it may be a goiter, which is indicative of Graves’ disease, an overactive thyroid condition.
When you have a goiter, your doctor will run tests to check your levels of thyroid hormone. In addition, you may be prescribed further tests such as diagnostic imaging or a biopsy. Treating the goiter will be dependent on the results of your test and can range from no treatment required to surgery and radioactive iodine treatment.
White Rings Around the Corneas in your Eyes
This condition is called arus senillis and the white ring is made up of cholesterol, which has deposited itself in the fine tissues of your cornea. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is produced by your liver and is found in your blood.
If you are under 40 and see this, do not ignore it, as this is a symptom of high cholesterol. While your body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, having too much can cause fatty deposits in your blood vessels, which can lead to heart attack and stroke.
Your Eyes and Skin Have Developed a Yellowish Tint
If you’ve noticed that your skin and eyes have developed a yellowish tint it should not be ignored. This yellowish tinge could mean that you have some form of liver disease, hepatitis or jaundice.
Even if you do not feel sick it’s important to see your doctor, as this change of appearance is the only obvious symptom of these diseases.
Butterfly Rash on Cheeks
A butterfly shaped rash on the face is the most visible sign of lupus. Although it is usually painless, it’s not something that you want to ignore. In many cases this visual health sign can be mistaken for looking flushed, or rosacea, however, the implications of this rash is much more serious.
In addition to the butterfly rash on the face, lupus causes inflammation of organs. The rash tends to be photosensitive, as it can be worsened by exposure to sunlight. When this happens it is also possible that you may experience a lupus flare up, as the organs experience increased inflammation within the body.
Rashes are tricky in that they are quick to appear and disappear, however, a distinctly butterfly shaped rash could be an indicator for lupus. If you are noticing this type of rash on your face it’s important to see your doctor to determine the cause.
You’re Getting Shorter
There’s a good reason why your doctor measures you regularly. On average people lose a quarter to half an inch every decade after age 40 or 50, with losses increasing in later years. Women generally losing more height than men. People tend to shrink as they age due to the natural compression of the discs in the spine and due to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is serious condition as it increases the likeliness of breaking a bone, especially in older individuals. Osteoporotic bone breaks are most likely to occur in the hip, spine or wrist, but other bones can break too.
The best way to prevent osteoporosis is to increase bone strength and density. This can be accomplished with a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D and through weight-baring exercises. Women in particular need to be aware of their risks of developing osteoporosis, as the decrease in estrogen levels caused by menopause naturally predisposition women to lose bone density as they age.
You Notice Changes in Handwriting
When we think of Parkinson’s disease, we think of shaky hands. But did you know that changes in handwriting is an extremely common early symptom of Parkinson’s that is easily unnoticed or ignored. In a 2013 study, handwriting analysis of people in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease showed that, in 97 percent of cases, the patient’s handwriting got smaller and smaller, and the words get closer together, as they continued to write. This happens because, in Parkinson’s disease, the nerve cells in the brain become damaged. Dopamine production slows down, which causes muscle stiffness in hands and fingers and affects handwriting.
Other symptoms associated with early Parkinson’s disease include loss of smell and intense dreams during which you kick, punch and thrash. If you notice these symptoms, and they last more than 2 weeks, see a neurologist. Early diagnosis is important in prognosis and quality of life.