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What is a symptom?
The meaning of the word symptom in medicine is: any sensation or change in bodily function that is experienced by a patient and is associated with a particular disease.
Subjective symptoms are what you feel such as headache, nausea, anxiety, abdominal cramps etc.
Objective symptoms are what your doctor can observe such as abnormal heart or lung sounds, thyroid gland enlargement, palpable tumors etc.
Symptoms can be clear and simple, such as half sided blinding headache; sensitivity to light with nausea is most likely migraine headache. Or sudden pain under the right ribs, which refers to the back and accompanied by nausea, is most likely a gallbladder problem.
Other conditions are signaled by more complex symptoms, yet still easy to diagnose, such as increased appetite with weight loss, nervousness, faster than usual heart rate, increased sweating, tremor of the fingers and tongue with heat intolerance. These symptoms are usually the signs of hyperthyroidism, and the cause is easy to diagnose.
Symptoms can be unusual and even bizarre at times.
You might ask, “What on earth does my earlobe have to do with the condition of my arteries”, or “If I have frequent hangnails do I really have vitamin C deficiency?”
Well, most bizarre symptoms are not proven scientifically. Instead they are the result of careful observations by people who paid attention to their own bodies, or by doctors who made the connection between symptom and disease. However, some unusual symptoms are proven by studies and tests. For example, an extensive study was completed in the US and China regarding the presence of a wrinkle on the earlobe and its connection to atherosclerosis. They found that 90-95% of the people who had a wrinkle on their earlobe had ischemia, (an inadequate supply of blood to a part of the body, caused by partial or total blockage of an artery) caused by atherosclerosis (deposits plaques form on the inner surfaces of the arteries obstructing blood flow). If the earlobe is not getting enough blood, the rest of the body is not getting enough either.
Your nails tell a lot about your health
Changes in nail shape, color, and texture can be especially useful in diagnosing illness. Below you will find some nail signs and the problems possibly causing them. These are only indications, and these are not all inclusive. Some people have never had moons on their nails, but you should check for a problem when you have had them, and they have disappeared. Discoloration, splitting or peeling of nails might be caused by harsh chemicals. However, if you do not use chemicals, it might be a signal of a disease.
Small indentations on nails, which resemble gnawing marks, can be the symptom of psoriasis (a common skin disease that affects the life cycle of the skin cells causing buildup rapidly on the surface of the skin).
No half-moons or ridged nails might signal vitamin A deficiency, kidney disorder or protein deficiency. Also, there is a possibility of autoimmune disease such as Lupus (the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s cells and organs) or scleroderma (progressive tightening of the skin and connective tissue) as well as thyroid disease.
Yellow, thick nails and the moons are missing signals lung problems.
Splitting, peeling nails might signal vitamin A and D deficiency, poor circulation, thyroid problems, hydrochloric acid deficiency, iron deficiency, calcium deficiency, or protein deficiency.
Nails curve up might signal iron or zinc deficiency, thyroid problems.
Nails curve down past fingertips can be the signal of heart and liver disorders, respiratory problems, or Vitamin B-12 deficiency.
Dark, spoon shaped nails might signal anemia, Vitamin B-12, and iron deficiency.
Flat nails can be the signal for iron or protein deficiency, Vitamin B-12 deficiency, Psoriasis, and Diabetes.
Wide, square nails can be the sign of hormonal imbalance.
Thick and deformed nails signal poor circulation, thyroid disease, or fungal infection.
Pitted, fraying, or split nails are a sign of vitamin C and protein deficiency.
Poor nail growth signals zinc deficiency.
Frequent hangnails can be the symptom of vitamin C deficiency.
Nail color changes
White spots signal low thyroid hormones and zinc deficiency.
White bands on nails can be the sign of zinc and protein deficiency as well as heart disease, liver and kidney problems.
Too pale nails might signal liver problems, poor circulation, kidney problems, anemia, multiple mineral deficiencies, and excess copper in the body.
Yellow nails can be a sign of vitamin E deficiency, poor circulation, lymph congestion, diabetes, or fungal infection.
Green nails are the sign of fungal or bacterial infections.
Blue nails signal lung and heart problems, circulatory problems, drug reactions, and blood toxicity from too much silver or copper.
Blue colored moons are the usual sign of rheumatoid arthritis.
Black bands on nails signal low adrenal function, chemotherapy or radiation reaction.
Brown nails can be the sign of renal failure.
Half brown and half white nails are also renal failure signs.
Brown or black streaks are visible from the base of the nail to the tip or uneven brownish spot signals melanoma.
Dark nail tips signal vitamin B12 deficiency.
Nail bed bleeding signals autoimmune disease.
Unable to straighten finger without known injury can be a sign of liver cirrhosis.
Read about more unusual symptoms in the eBook
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Erika M Szabo
Author of urban fantasy, magical realism novels and children's books,
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