What Your Hands Reveal About Your Health

Sweaty palms or shaky digits could be an early warning of certain conditions.

What Your Hands Reveal About Your Health

Finger length: Arthritis risk

Women with ring fingers that are longer than their index fingers, typically a male trait, are twice as likely to have osteoarthritis in the knees, according to an Arthritis & Rheumatism study. Low oestrogen levels may be a factor. The same feature has been linked to higher athletic ability and verbal aggression in both genders. In men, a significantly longer ring finger (indicating an in utero testosterone surge during the second trimester) is associated with having more children and better relationships with women – but a higher risk of prostate cancer.

Shaky hands: Parkinson’s Disease

Trembling hands could be the result of too much caffeine or a side effect of certain medications like antidepressants. But it’s a good idea to see your doctor if the issue recurs. A tremor in just one hand can be a first symptom of Parkinson’s disease, or it can indicate essential tremor, a treatable disorder that causes uncontrollable shaking.

Nail Colour: Kidney Disease

When Indian researchers studied 100 patients with chronic kidney disease, they found that 36% had half-and-half nails (the bottom of a nail is white and the top is brown). The nail condition may be caused by an increased concentration of certain hormones and chronic anaemia, both traits of chronic kidney disease. See your doctor right away if you notice half-and-half nails or a dark, vertical stripe beneath the nail bed – this can be hidden melanoma, a skin cancer.

Grip strength: Heart health

A weak grip predicts a higher risk of heart attack or stroke and lower chances of survival, according to a new Lancet study of more than 140,000 adults in 17 countries. Grip strength was a better predictor of death than was blood pressure. Researchers say grip strength is a marker of overall muscle strength and fitness, and they recommend whole-body strength training and aerobic exercise to reduce heart disease risk.

Sweaty palms: Hyperhidrosis

Overly clammy hands may be a symptom of menopause or thyroid conditions, as well as hyperhidrosis, in which overactive sweat glands cause far more perspiration than necessary. Most people with the condition sweat from only one or two parts of the body, such as the armpits, palms, or feet. A doctor may prescribe a strong antiperspirant to decrease sweat production.

Fingerprints: High blood pressure

When UK researchers studied 139 fingerprints, they found that people with a whorl (spiral) pattern on one or more fingers were more likely to have high blood pressure than people with arches or loops. The more fingers with whorls a participant had, the higher his or her blood pressure was.


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