Fatigue, vitamin deficiencies, and diabetes: 7 health problems that your hands are warning you about

Let me hear your body talk!” We know it’s not what that catchy tune was talking about, but your body certainly does have a language, and it’s up to you to understand it.

Your body reacts to what you eat and how you treat it and tells you what it needs. Changes in mood, energy, pain, and even cravings all reflect the fluctuations of our health, but another unique way your body can communicate is through your hands.

Hands can signal distress in a number of different ways, as a warning of underlying diseases or deficiencies. Pain in certain fingers might reflect nerve damage, while a black or blue color in your hand might indicate problems with circulation. These are the most common symptoms that manifest in your hands, which everyone should be familiar with:

Numbness and Inability to Feel Pain or Temperature

Type 2 diabetics are constantly exposed to high levels of blood sugar, which can damage nerve fibers altering our sense of touch. It does this by interfering with nerve signals and damaging blood vessels, making it harder to get nutrients and oxygen to nerves. This is called peripheral neuropathy a sign of type 2 diabetes.[i] These symptoms in your hands, as well as your feet, are early signs of type 2 diabetes. Other signs include: [ii] [iii]

  • Cuts and sores that aren’t healing

  • Dizziness

  • Changes in digestion

  • Urination abnormalities

  • Altered sexual function

  • Weight loss

  • Blurred vision

  • Fatigue

  • Increased hunger

The VeinCare Centre video below explains this concept in more detail:

What Should you do? To prevent diabetes, start eating foods high in fiber, protein and good fat that help stabilize your blood sugar, alongside more exercise.  [iv]

Blotchy Red Palms (Palmar Erythema)

This is a sign of a liver condition called cirrhosis and non-alcoholic fatty liver. In cirrhosis the inflamed liver sends extra hormones around the body, dilating blood vessels in the hands and feet which can cause redness.[v]  Cirrhosis is a condition where real tissue is replaced by scar tissues because of drinking too much alcohol, viral hepatitis, or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The scar tissues make it difficult for blood to get through and can cause severe trouble. If you have these blotchy red palms you might also bruise and bleed easily, your eyes and skin might turn yellow, or you might also be overweight.[vi]

What Should I Do?

Check with your doctor to make sure it isn’t cirrhosis, a severe liver condition. If it is, stick to your treatment, find ways to stop smoking, drinking, or taking recreational drugs. If you have blotchy red palms because of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, avoid drinking, try to lose weight at a reasonable pace, and eat a balanced diet, limiting your intake of carbs.[vii] [viii]

Discomfort in Your Wrist, and Fingers Except for The Little One

Pain in your wrist and fingers is a sign of carpal tunnel. This sensation might go from a tingle to the feeling of an electric shock. The pain will ride up your arm from time to time as well. Carpal tunnel is often developed by repetitive use or pressure on your median nerve which passes through your forearm and wrist. Repetitive use of this nerve or a pinch due to a wrist fracture might lead to carpal tunnel.[ix]

What Should I Do?

Apply ice packs, and stop the frequent use of your wrist and hand muscles. You can also use a splint to hold your wrist still while eating anti-inflammatory foods to reduce the pain.

You can also try this 24 Hour Carpal Tunnel Cure:

Otherwise, talk to your doctor about options suitable for you to help manage pain and inflammation.[x]

Tips of Your Fingers Have Black or Blue Skin 

This is a sign of Buerger’s Disease, a disease which comes from inflamed and swelled blood vessels. Tobacco use is frequently associated with disease, yet, researchers aren’t sure why. Pain should occur when you use your hands, and the same symptoms may appear on your feet. You may also feel painful sores in your fingers and toes.[xi]

What Should I Do?

Get to a doctor, without proper treatment you could get gangrene, and in some cases amputation is necessary. You also must quit smoking, using tobacco, and nicotine immediately. Your doctor can give you something to stop your blood vessels from swelling, and to help with nicotine and tobacco addiction. Other less effective treatments are blood dilation medications, compression of arms and legs to increase blood flow, and invasive surgeries. Needless to say, it’s best not to smoke in the first place.[xii]

Hands Tremor

If your hands are shaking or numb, this could be a sign that you’re vitamin deficient, anxious, or tired. Your body is giving you a clear sign to fix your habits. Vitamins you might need are Vitamin E, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12. [xiii] [xiv] [xv]

Other signs of vitamin deficiency include fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, pale or yellow skin, irregular heartbeats, weight loss, or muscle weakness. [xvi]

What Should I Do?

Make more time for yourself and set priorities, don’t bite off more than you can chew. This means eating right, sleeping 7-9 hours, and dealing with stress through hobbies, exercise, and meditation.

If tremors persist you should talk to your doctor about what steps to take next, and to make sure it isn’t a sign of a bigger health condition such as Parkinson’s disease.

Overly White Fingernails

You might have an iron deficiency, if the skin under your fingernails is consistently white, or if you press on your nail, turning it white, and it stays that color when you let go.[xvii] This means that your blood doesn’t have enough iron to make hemoglobin. You need this protein to carry oxygen to your tissues and muscles. People with this deficiency rarely know they have it, so looking at your fingernails is a good trick to figure it out. Other symptoms of iron deficiencies are fatigue, pale skin, dizziness, cold hands and feet, and headaches. [xviii]

What Should I Do?

If you suspect an iron deficiency, visit your doctor to get a blood test done. If it turns out that you do have an iron deficiency, it’s wise to change up your diet by eating more grass-fed and organic red meat, dark green leafy vegetables, dried fruits and nuts. If you are struggling to incorporate more of these foods into your diet, take Iron supplements on a regular basis.

Find out more about Iron Deficiency from VitaTree VitaLife Show

Complete Lack of Movement In Your Hand

This is sometimes caused by the Brachial Plexus Injury usually developed from contact sports which damage the nerves of the shoulder, arm, and hand. They are damaged by frequently stretching and compressing the nerve which eventually tears away from your spinal cord. At times, tumors can also be the cause of this injury.

This injury can cause a slight numbness while the more severe version of this injury doesn’t allow you to move your hand at all and usually, comes with severe pain. [xx]

What Should I Do?

See your doctor for a recommendation. Some nerves might need time to recover while physical therapy might be necessary to keep your joints working properly. If the injury is severe, a nerve graft or nerve transfer surgery might be required.[xxi]

Conclusion

Your hands might be able to tell your future, but not in the way fortune tellers use them. Looking for discoloration, numbness, or complete loss of control can tell you about your nervous system, your blood, and your liver. However, knowing what to look for is just the first step in getting better, you need to dedicate yourself to the right treatment and the right foods.

[i] Diabetic neuropathy Symptoms – Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetic-neuropathy/basics/symptoms/con-20033336. Accessed April 6, 2017.

[ii] Treatment – Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-2-diabetes/diagnosis-treatment/treatment/txc-20169988. Accessed April 6, 2017.

[iii] Diabetic neuropathy Symptoms – Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetic-neuropathy/basics/symptoms/con-20033336. Accessed April 6, 2017.

[iv] Treatment – Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-2-diabetes/diagnosis-treatment/treatment/txc-20169988. Accessed April 6, 2017.

[v] Moorhead A. 12 health problems your hands and nails are warning you about. The Sun. 2016. Available at: https://www.thesun.co.uk/archives/news/174076/12-health-problems-your-hands-and-nails-are-warning-you-about/. Accessed April 6, 2017.

[vi] What Is Cirrhosis?. WebMD. 2017. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/cirrhosis-liver#1. Accessed April 6, 2017.

[vii] Fatty Liver Disease: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments. WebMD. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/hepatitis/fatty-liver-disease#2-7. Accessed April 6, 2017.

[viii]What Is Cirrhosis?. WebMD. 2017. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/cirrhosis-liver#1. Accessed April 6, 2017.

[ix] Mayo Clinic Staff. Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/carpal-tunnel-syndrome/symptoms-causes/dxc-20313870. Accessed April 6, 2017.

[x] Mayo Clinic Staff. Treatment – Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/carpal-tunnel-syndrome/diagnosis-treatment/treatment/txc-20313944. Accessed April 6, 2017.

[xi] Mayo Clinic Staff. Overview – Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/buergers-disease/home/ovc-20179160. Accessed April 6, 2017.

[xii] IBID.

[xiii] Fatigue and Shaking hands or tremor: Common Related Medical Conditions. Symptomcheckerwebmdcom. Available at: http://symptomchecker.webmd.com/multiple-symptoms?symptoms=fatigue%7Cshaking-hands-or-%20tremor&symptomids=98%7C394&locations=66%7C50. Accessed April 6, 2017.

[xiv] Busse M. What Vitamin Deficiencies Cause Tremors?. LIVESTRONGCOM. 2015. Available at: http://www.livestrong.com/article/363746-what-vitamin-deficiencies-cause-tremors/. Accessed April 6, 2017.

[xv] Moorhead A. 12 health problems your hands and nails are warning you about. The Sun. 2016. Available at: https://www.thesun.co.uk/archives/news/174076/12-health-problems-your-hands-and-nails-are-warning-you-about/. Accessed April 6, 2017.

[xvi]Mayo Clinic Staff. Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vitamin-deficiency-anemia/symptoms-causes/dxc-20265323. Accessed April 6, 2017.

[xvii] Moorhead A. 12 health problems your hands and nails are warning you about. The Sun. 2016. Available at: https://www.thesun.co.uk/archives/news/174076/12-health-problems-your-hands-and-nails-are-warning-you-about/. Accessed April 6, 2017.

[xviii] Cafasso J, Nall R. Iron Deficiency Anemia. Healthline. Available at: http://www.healthline.com/health/iron-deficiency-anemia?m=0#causes2. Accessed April 6, 2017.

[xix] IBID.

[xx] Mayo Clinic Staff. Overview – Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/brachial-plexus-injury/home/ovc-20127336. Accessed April 6, 2017.

[xxi] IBID.

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