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   Oct 08

What’s YOUR body trying to tell you?

Body has ways of communicating health issues, says Dr Deyo Famuboni

Cracks at the side of the mouth or thinning hair signals iron deficiency

Allergies can cause dark circles around the eyes due to excessive rubbing

An itchy rash that doesn’t go away with products could be coeliac disease

Have you got cracks at the side of your mouth or thinning hair?

Or itchy feet, an unexplained rash or dark circles under your eyes?

They may seem like benign, innocuous symptoms, but they could in fact be a warning sign of illness or other health issues, says Dr Deyo Famuboni, a GP in London.

‘It’s important to listen to your body,’ she told Healthista.

‘This is ever so true – especially when it’s trying to warn you that something isn’t right.

‘There are so many subtle signs it gives us, that picking up on them – and being attuned to what is normal for you – is vital to feeling well and preventing future problems.’

From yellow spots on the elbows to itchy feet, here she explains how to tell if something is up with your health…

1. Gaining weigh around the waist

Have you gone shopping for a new pair of jeans and realise that your waist size has gone up?

It can put you at risk of developing diabetes and a condition called the metabolic syndrome if it is higher than 31 inches (80cm) as a woman or 37 inches (94cm) as a man.

The risk is substantially higher if the waist is bigger than 34 inches (88cm) as a woman or 40 inches (102cm) as a man.

With high rates of obesity and associated waist circumference, diabetes, which gives us problems with tiredness, concentration, frequent urinating and drinking water short term, and long term can affect our vision, circulation and life expectancy is common.

Prevention is key and keeping our waist circumference low helps this. Regular exercise and a good diet can keep this in check but talk to your doctor about a test for Type-2 diabetes.

2. Yellow spots around your eyes and or your elbows

This is a condition known as xanthelasma and is due to fatty deposits just under your skin. It can be sign that your cholesterol level is raised.

Dark circles under the eyes could be due to allergies

A blood test, usually done on a empty stomach, can tell if that is the case.

Depending on the cause of this, dietary interventions and exercise can help to reduce this.

We get concerned about cholesterol because it can be a risk factor for developing problems with the heart or brain such a a heart attack or a stroke respectively.

3. You have darker circles around your eyes

Though not getting enough sleep can contribute to this, dark circles could also be due to allergies and frequently itching the eyes or rubbing the nose.

Working out what they could be, for example, house dust mites, and limiting your exposure may help. If the itching is frequent, anti-allergy medications may help.

Research suggests probiotics may help to alleviate some allergies.

4. Itchy feet

Spending time in sweaty trainers at the gym or swimming often? The damp environment can increase fungal infections, causing the feet to itch.

You may notice a white scaly or damp rash in between your toes or under the feet.

An anti-fungal cream, usually available over the counter can help to treat this. Good hygiene and airing the feet out as often as possible helps with healing and preventing a recurrence.

5. Cracks at corners of your mouth

This is usually your body telling you to increase your intake of foods rich in B vitamins and iron such as leafy green vegetables, lean meat and eggs.

Once dry and cracked, this can become infected. Topical treatment and moisturising usually clears it up.

Cracks at the corner of the mouth is usually the body telling us to increase our intake of foods rich in B vitamins and iron – such as leafy green vegetables, lean meat and eggs

6. Very itchy rash

Especially if it doesn’t improving despite using creams available over the counter, this can be a sign of coeliac disease.

This is a gluten-sensitivity condition whereby the body reacts to the gluten protein in food.

This affects the lining of the gut, making it difficult to absorb nutrients. The skin can therefore be affected.

In the long run and depending on the severity, it can cause chronic damage to the bowels.

Brittle nails usually occur if we over-expose the nails to wet, damp conditions

It is important to know if you have this condition as strictly avoiding gluten is the main treatment and leads to it resolving.

Your doctor can do a simple blood test for coeliac disease and if positive, you can purchase gluten-free food on prescription.

7. Thinning hair

Your iron levels may be low or on the lower side of normal. This can be problematic for women especially as we may be health conscious and refrain from animal products rich in iron.

Furthermore we lose iron monthly and therefore can become anaemic.

Having a thyroid problem can also affect the hair.

A blood test can tell if its due to these problems. Increasing iron rich foods or taking a supplement if its low can help.

8. Brittle nails

This usually happens if we over-expose the nails to wet, damp conditions or frequently use nail polish.

Moisturising the nails regularly can help and using a supplement with biotin (vitamin b7) may be effective.

It can sometimes be a sign of a fungal infection, psoriasis, thyroid problems, or arthritis.

If due to these conditions, one would usually have other symptoms such as a rash, fatigue, painful joints respectively. Do seek advice from your doctor.
Constipation is the body’s way of telling us to increase our fibre and water intake. Most people don’t get close to the recommended intake of fibre in their daily diet (file photo)

9. Constipation

This is your body telling you to increase the fibre and water in your diet.

Most people don’t get close to the recommended intake of fibre in their daily diet. The type of fibre is also important to prevent constipation and excess wind or bloating.

We need both insoluble (such as wheatbran, whole-grains) and soluble fibres (including oatbran and pulses) to prevent constipation and help decrease cholesterol levels respectively.

Soluble fibres are more likely to cause wind and bloating, however gradually building up your intake of both types can prevent this from being problematic.

If it does happen, the body gradually adapts and it should settle with time.

This article originally appeared and has been reproduced with the permission of Healthista.

Source: Daily Mail

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