“Hands are often the first part of you to show visible signs of aging, but they can also be a barometer of your general health as well as holding clues to underlying health problems.” says Dr Wendy Denning, of The Health Doctors.
So it’s very important to keep an eye out for changes in the overall look and feel of your hands as often as possible. Here are a few signs that may help you to self diagnose a health issue before it gets worse.
- Sweaty Palms – can be a sign of stress or an overactive thyroid, which tends to speed up your metabolism meaning you burn more calories and generate more heat. It can also be a symptom of hyperhidrosis, a condition otherwise known as excess sweating, which tends to run in families. Too much alcohol and stress can also make hands sweat.
- Cold Hands – are usually a sign of poor circulation. They can also be a sign of stress as the heart is pumping blood to other areas of body where its need is greater,’ says Dr Denning. Constantly cold hands is also a sigh of having low blood pressure or an under-active thyroid.
- Thickening of the Palm – is a classic symptom of Dupuytren’s contracture, when the tendon sheaths of the fingers in the palm of the hand develop cord-like thickening. It often runs in families but may be caused by excess alcohol intake, diabetes, epilepsy, cirrhosis or an injury to the hand.
- Dry Hands – Very dry skin on the hands can be a sign of an under-active thyroid. It could also be a sign of essential fatty acid deficiency caused by not eating enough oily fish or nuts & seeds. And it can sometimes indicate you are not drinking enough water but you have to be quite dehydrated for this to show up on your hands.
- Trembling Hands – Most of our hands shake to some degree,’ says Dr Denning. But if the tremble is more than slight it could mean you are suffering from what is known as an ‘essential tremor’, a neurological disorder that tends to run in families. It could also be a sign of Parkinson’s disease which also affects the nervous system, or an over-active thyroid. Anxiety and stress can also cause hands to shake, as can drinking strong coffee and too much alcohol.