What is your body trying to show you?

General Health

How you look on the outside can say a lot about how healthy you are on the inside. Here are 5 changes to your appearance that could be caused by an underlying health condition.

28/06/2018


Emily Condon
BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences

Share this article

In a world driven by innovative technology, our phones flash up to let us know about low battery, we are alerted when our computers need updating and warning lights inform us when our vehicles require attention. We are so attentive to the technology around us but yet are quick to ignore the warning signs that our own bodies present to us to alert us that something is wrong. 

Below are 5 changes to your physical appearance that could be caused by an underlying medical condition. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed below, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there is anything seriously wrong, but Medichecks offers an easy and convenient way to investigate your symptoms further. 

1. Hair

Many of us take great pride in the way our hair looks and do everything we can to try and make every day a ‘good hair day’. But changes in the texture and appearance of our hair can uncover many truths about our health.

Dry, coarse hair that breaks easily or falls out can be a sign of an underactive thyroid - hypothyroidism. Too little thyroid hormone disrupts your hair growth cycle, resulting in hair loss. An overactive thyroid, hyperthyroidism, can also cause thinning hair. 

An imbalance in certain hormones in both male and females can also lead to hair loss. High levels of testosterone in men can have a negative effect on hair growth and cause hair loss. In women, hormonal imbalances can also negatively affect hair growth. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that affects the way the ovaries work. PCOS can increase the amount of body hair produced but can also decrease the amount of hair on the scalp.

2. Skin

The skin is the largest organ in the body so it’s a great place to keep an eye on for any tell-tale signs of ill health.  

A deficiency in iron or vitamin B12 can cause anaemia – a condition in which a reduced amount of oxygen is carried around the blood. Anaemia can take a toll on your skin, making it pale or yellow in colour. Acute anaemia is often treated by consuming more iron and vitamin B12 from your diet or by supplementation.

Dry skin is also a symptom of diabetes, hypothyroidism and nutrient deficiencies.

3. Dark circles

If you have experienced several nights of broken sleep, you may well notice dark circles developing under your eyes. But the need for a good night’s sleep goes way beyond just removing those under eye bags. Sleep plays a huge role in healthy brain function and overall emotional well-being.

In our modern-day lives work pressures, smartphones and long hours it makes it harder to switch off. Stress normally causes a surge in the production of cortisol – a steroid hormone that plays a role in most of the body’s functioning including regulating blood sugar levels, blood pressure and inflammation. Frequent or constant stress can elevate cortisol levels, making it more difficult to relax into sound sleep.

Thyroid disorders and vitamin/mineral deficiencies can also affect energy levels and sleep quality.

4. Nails

‘Spoon nails’ grow and curve upwards away from the skin. A common cause of spoon nails is iron deficiency anaemia. If anaemia is to blame, you may be experiencing other symptoms such as pale skin and shortness of breath ‘Terry’s nail’ refers to a nail disorder in which the nails become almost opaque and develop a dark band at the tip. There can be many causes of Terry’s nail including diabetes, liver and thyroid problems.

Thyroid disorders can also cause brittle nails that break easily.

5. Stubborn body fat 

Losing weight is never easy and it can be difficult at the best of times, but if you are tired, lack energy or suffer from low mood, then losing weight can be even more of a struggle. We all know that carrying extra weight raises our risk of conditions like diabetes and heart disease, however, for some of us, no matter how hard we try, the pounds won't shift. Hormone imbalances can cause us to store weight around our middle, which puts us at greater risk of other health conditions.

If you are feeling a little out of sorts don't ignore any unusual changes to your body, let Medichecks help you to investigate so you can take control of your health!


Related Tests

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. Read more