Health clues in your hands

Hands can say a lot about a person's health. Dr. Abhishek Agarwal, a family physician at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, gives his expert advice on how to look for clues on your hands that could point to a more serious problem. Below is a list of possible symptoms that could spell health trouble.

Puffy Fingers: Finger puffiness could be bloating from a salty snack or PMS symptoms, but constant puffiness can also be a sign of hypothyroidism. "You can even get swelling in your legs. That's because there is more fluid retention because of the thyroid imbalance," explained Dr. Agarwal.

White-colored Nails: Pale nails could be a sign of iron-deficiency. Dr. Agarwal suggests trying this test: "If you press on your nail it turns white. Then you release it and the blood comes back. If it is taking more time, say 45 seconds to a minute, for the blood to come back it can be a sign of mild anemia." He said fatigue and pale skin are better indicators of anemia, but your doctor can perform a simple blood test to confirm.

Red Palms: Turn you hand over and if you have redness or irritation on the palm it could be caused by a host of issues. The redness could be a reaction to jewelry. "For somebody who's wearing nickel jewelry it can be a simple allergic reaction," explained Dr. Agarwal. He said pregnancy can also cause red palms because of increase blood flow.

Short Index Finger Test: A University of Nottingham study with 2,000 patients found those with a shorter index finger than ringer finger were up to twice as likely to suffer from osteo-arthritis. Dr. Agarwal stressed for people with a shorter index finger not to panic. "If you have a healthy lifestyle, are eating healthy, and exercising regularly that is the same thing that will prevent you against osteo-arthritis," said Dr. Agarwal.

Discolored or Infected Nails: Discolored nails can mean a fungal or bacterial infection, but it can also be a sign of diabetes. Dr. Agarwal said, "Diabetic's immune system is low and you're more prone to getting these infections." He added that those with discolored nails should seek medical attention quickly or risk the nail falling off.

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