Our hands are one of the most useful parts of our body; we use them to accomplish pretty much everything. But besides having a number of functional uses, our hands can also indicate other problems occurring within our bodies. From excessive dryness, to increased sensitivity, to sweaty palms – these hand pains and problems are actually your hands trying to tell you something!
8 Things Your Hands Are Trying To Tell You
1. Excessive Dryness
This is a problem many of us face, especially during frigid winter months. But dry hands may actually be a sign of menopause (1). During menopause, your estrogen levels begin to decline (1). Estrogen is a powerful hormone that stimulates the formation of smooth skin via the production of oils and collagen (1). Once estrogen levels start diminishing, dry, flaky skin often becomes a problem (1).
Another culprit that causes dry skin is dehydration. Dry skin is typically caused by a lack of oil, but even oily skin can be affected by dehydration, which is associated with a lack of water (2). This lack of water can cause irritation, inflammation, and sensitivity in your skin (2). Be sure to drink lots of water and moisturize your hands regularly to avoid this problem.
Eczema is also a health condition that has been associated with having dry hands. Even though it looks like any other type of dry skin, it’s a more serious condition that requires more than hand moisturizer to get rid of (3). Hand eczema can be caused by frequently having water on your hands, working with harsh chemicals, or an allergic reaction. If you think you might have eczema, seek out the expertise of a dermatologist to find out the underlying cause.
You can also try these 7 strategies to eliminate hand eczema:
2. Red Palms
Your liver may be to blame for the redness in your palms. Liver diseases such as cirrhosis, hemochromatosis, and Wilson disease, often cause a condition known as palmar erythema, which is essentially the reddening of both palms (6). The redness caused by palmar erythema usually shows up on the lower part of the palm (6).
Another cause of palmer erythema is hormone changes, specifically higher estrogen levels (6). If you think you might have palmar erythema, it’s best to seek the advice of a medical professional.
3. Sweaty Palms
If you have excessively sweaty palms, you may have a condition known as palmar hyperhidrosis (4). This condition can be quite embarrassing to live with, but there are a number of solutions available to combat the symptoms. You can use topical antiperspirants, have a doctor perform an iontophoresis, or opt to get Botox in your palms (4).
Sweaty palms may also be caused by an overactive thyroid, which puts energy-producing cells into overdrive (5). Your sweaty palm symptoms may be combined with feeling very warm if your thyroid is overactive (5).
4. Brittle Nails
Your nail health is very indicative of your overall health. If your nails crack easily, this may be due to a nutritional deficiency, specifically iron, zinc, or Vitamin A (7). Iron is needed to manufacture proteins responsible for transporting oxygen to your muscles and tissues, zinc is critical for the production of certain enzymes, and Vitamin A is composed of a group of carotenoid compounds needed to maintain a healthy immune system (7).
5. Trembling Hands
Having trembling hands can be pretty alarming and a sign of a serious problem. One condition known to be associated with trembling hands in Parkinson’s Disease, a neurodegenerative disease that occurs when dopamine chemicals degenerate (8). Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder that is often accompanied with other changes such as having trouble standing and slurred speech (9). Working with a movement-specialist can help manage the symptoms of this disease (9).
6. Tendon Pain
Excessive hand pain in your tendons is often the result of tendinitis, the inflammation of your tendon (12). Tendinitis is usually caused by repetitive impact on an affected area and is most common in those over the age of 40 (12). Give your hands a rest then gradually build up your activity level if you’ve been experiencing tendon pain. (12).
7. Drumstick Fingers
If your fingers appear club or drumstick-like, this may be a sign of underlying diseases such as lung or heart diseases. Neoplastic lung disease, more commonly referred to as lung cancer, is the most common pulmonary cause of clubbing (10). Other cardiac conditions, such as cyanotic heart disease and infective endocarditis, are also associated with swollen fingers (10).
8. Tingling Hands
Tingling hands are caused by nerve damage that is referred to as peripheral neuropathy (11). The most common cause of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes (11). Tingling hands may also be a sign of vitamin deficiencies, infections, autoimmune diseases, or inherited disorders (11). No matter the cause, tingling hands are usually a sign of a much bigger problem, so it’s a good idea to investigate this symptom further.
Being aware of your bodily signs and symptoms is important to your health long-term. Your hands in particular can be indicative of a number of more serious conditions, so pay attention to them! Read this next to learn about other health problems your hands are warning you about.
(1) Fries, W.C. (2010, August 23). Menopause and Dry Skin: The Hormone Connection. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/beauty/features/menopause-dry-skin-hormone-connection#3
(2) Howard, D. (n.d.). The Top Three Causes of Dry, Dehydrated Skin. Retrieved from http://www.dermalinstitute.com/us/library/18_article_The_Top_Three_Causes_of_Dry_Dehydrated_Skin.html
(3) Dry, scaly, and painful hands could be hand eczema. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/eczema/hand-eczema
(4) Sweaty Hands. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.sweathelp.org/where-do-you-sweat/sweaty-hands.html
(5) 19 signs your thyroid isn’t working right. (2013, August 29). Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/08/29/1-signs-your-thyroid-isnt-working-right.html
(6) Johnson, J. (2018, January 12). What is palmar erythema? Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320593.php
(7) Meininger, K. (2017, July 18). Splitting & Peeling Nails from a Vitamin Deficiency. Retrieved from https://www.livestrong.com/article/532778-splitting-peeling-nails-from-a-vitamin-deficiency/
(8) Understanding Parkinson’s. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.parkinson.ca/about-parkinsons/understanding-parkinsons/
(9) Signs and Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. (2017, August 11). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/parkinsons-disease/guide/parkinsons-common-symptoms#2
(10) Sarkar, M., Mahesh, D.M., Madabhavi, I. (2012, December). Digital Clubbing. Lung India, 29 (4), 354 – 362. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3519022/
(11) Tingling in Hands and Feet. (2016, September 17). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/brain/tingling-in-hands-and-feet#3
(12) Tendinitis. (2018, March 4). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/arthritis-tendinitis#2
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