Using Your Hands to Help Predict Disease Risks

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Believe it or not, your hands can give a glimpse to the earliest signs of some of the most dangerous known diseases. Take a look at your pointers and palms for a glimpse into your current and future health.

Prolonged reddening of the palms other than during pregnancy can actually indicate the earliest stages of liver disease. If your palms are abnormally red, ask your doctor for a liver function test.

Swelling of the fingers that isn’t cured after a few days of drinking extra water can indicate that you’re suffering from hypothyroidism, as a slow-down in your metabolism results in your body holding on to excess water. Ask your doctor to test for the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).

Often chalked up to an old wives’ tale, finger length can actually tell you a lot about your future. Women with a longer ring finger than index finger are at double the risk of osteoarthritis, while a longer ring finger than index finger indicates an increased risk of breast cancer or a decreased risk of prostate cancer (for men).

Your nails can be profoundly telling when it comes to health. Pale nails that border on white can indicate an iron deficiency, and you may need to start taking supplements (talk with your doctor). Red stripes underneath the nails can indicate an infection in the heart or blood, and should be checked by your doctor as soon as possible.

If your fingertips suddenly become unusually thick or rounded at the ends, it could indicate heart or lung disease. Have your doctor check your oxygen levels or run a full battery of tests to rule this out. On the other hand, if your fingertips are blue, you could have a circulation issue, and need to visit a doctor to determine the best course of treatment.