Did you know that when student doctors are first taught how to examine patients, they are always told to start by looking at the hands?. Your hands can actually show a lot about your health. The examination of the hands and nails can contribute to various diagnoses. Keep reading to discover the warning signs of serious health conditions, just a fingertip away:
Arthritis impacts the joints of each finger, the thumbs, and the wrists. Affected areas might look red, swollen and may be tender to touch. Rheumatoid and osteoarthritis have different characteristic features.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that causes tendon inflammation and painful synovial cysts which can rupture. The fingers get overextended at the joints and get misaligned. Rheumatoid arthritis is also linked to Sjogren's syndrome, a condition that causes eye and mouth dryness.
Osteoarthritis is a tear-and-wear condition that most often affects older adults, however, it can also occur in younger people, especially athletes who repeatedly use the same joint. The condition leads to hard bony lumps at the distal and middle finger joints. Osteoarthritis can actually affect any joint in your body.
There are some connective tissue disorders that can affect your hands and wrists. These include:
Trigger finger. This condition happens when a tendon in the finger or thumb gets inflamed and can’t function as it should. You can bend the finger, however, you can’t straighten it again without manually putting the finger back in place.
Carpal tunnel syndrome. This is a common condition in which the median nerve gets compressed as it passes from the forearm through the carpal tunnel and into the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome often leads to wrist pain, numbness and tingling in the thumb and index fingers, and over time, muscle wasting and weakness. Carpal tunnel syndrome is usually linked to diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid disease.
A tremor in both hands could mean you have too high levels of anxiety, you experience alcohol withdrawal, or drink too much caffeine. However, this symptom can also be triggered by conditions like Parkinson's Disease or an overactive thyroid gland. Sometimes a tremor could be provoked by antipsychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
If the skin on your hands or wrists is reddened and has characteristic features like thickening and fissures, this might be the result of eczema or contact dermatitis that’s sometimes caused by occupational exposure to allergens.
There is a new strange symptom of coronavirus, known as "COVID toes". However, the virus can also be accompanied by swollen hands. The Mayo Clinic says that this swelling, known as edema, can be tied to kidney or heart issues, both of which may be provoked by coronavirus. Weakness or numbness of your hands, along with wrist or hand pain, are also common symptoms for many COVID sufferers.
Anemia can provoke brittle and spoon-shaped nails, known as koilonychia. This might be an indication of celiac disease, diabetes, vitamin B12 deficiency or haemochromatosis.
Diabetics might develop a condition which is called cheiroarthropathy. This condition causes hand and finger stiffness. If you put your two palms together and straighten your fingers as much as possible, you won’t be able to touch the full length of each finger together.
One of the most common metabolic conditions is gout. It’s characterized by acute, painful swelling of one or more joints of the fingers. Gout happens when your body either produces too much or can't break down uric acid. This uric acid turns into crystals that are deposited in the joints.
Tendon xanthoma is another common metabolic condition, in which cholesterol deposits occur around the knuckles.