If you’re living a generally unhealthy lifestyle, you’re probably clued-in. Most of us are aware that we shouldn’t be shoveling garbage down our throats at every opportunity, reaching for sodas, completely ignoring our bodies’ primal urges for exercise — but we do it anyway. And we somehow are able to shut down the nagging voice in the back of our minds that tell us to knock it off and get ourselves into shape.
Here are 15 tell-tale signs that you’re unhealthy, some (page 12) may surprise you.
1. Bad skin
The quality of your skin is a sure-fire way to get a reading on your overall level of health. Of course, some people struggle with skin issues like acne and are otherwise perfectly fine — but skin quality can clue you into some bigger problems. A poor diet can really impact your skin quality, and if you’re noticing blemishes like stretch marks? That should tell you that something is wrong.
Next: Not getting enough (or too much) of this may be a sign.
2. Sleep issues
Can’t seem to fall asleep at night? That can be an indication that some aspects of your life need adjusting. Whether it be that you’re eating the wrong foods, ingesting too much caffeine late in the day, or not expelling enough energy during the day, not being able to sleep presents an issue — which cascades into further issues.
Next: Don’t be embarrassed by this important sign.
3. Bathroom problems
Yep, we’re getting down and dirty. Take note of the color of your urine, and even how frequently you’re going No. 2 — those could both provide important insight into the state of your overall health. Since you’re going to ask, your urine should be a pale yellow color — and hopefully odorless. As for your bowel movement frequency, there’s a wide range. But if you’re going regularly, you’re probably fine. And don’t ignore the grimy details during your investigation.
Next: This has something to do with your vitamin levels.
4. Lip balm reliance
If your lips are constantly chapped, and you find that you can’t live without lip balm, that’s your body’s way of telling you that something’s wrong. Specifically, your lip condition is an indicator of your vitamin levels. If your lips are chapped, you may be vitamin strapped — so diversify your diet, and get the nutrients you need.
Next: This is why you shouldn’t hide your nails under polish.
5. Bad fingernails and toenails
If the condition of your lips wasn’t a solid enough indicator, your finger and toenails can also give you a heads-up if you’re unhealthy. You’re going to want to be on the lookout for ridges, discoloration, and bumps — all of which should be red flags. Your nails can tell you a lot about your overall state of health, so if something is strange, don’t ignore it.
Next: Always cold?
6. Body temperature fluctuation
Icy feet and hands aren’t normal. Yes, there could be environmental factors at play, but if you’re consistently finding that your extremities are ice cold, it can be a sign of cardiovascular problems. Specifically, cold hands or feet might mean that you’re having circulation issues and that your body isn’t getting blood where it needs to go. If this is a chronic issue, have it checked out.
Next: Did you forget where you put your keys?
7. A cloudy mind
It’s becoming quite clear that our cognitive ability and brain health are closely tied to our physical condition. That means that obesity and elevated levels of body fat can have a significant impact on our ability to think and reason. It’s kind of scary, but also a very promising area of research. So, if you can’t formulate a potent thought, it may be a sign that it’s time to drop some weight.
Next: This is an unusual sign of liver disease.
8. You’re consistently itchy
If you’re not acutely aware that you have an itch, you probably won’t notice. But if you’re thinking about whether or not you have an itch? You’ll be itchy. It’s weird. However, if you’re seemingly always itchy and it’s disrupting your day, that may indicate a bigger problem. It could be your body’s way of telling you you’re allergic to something nearby. Or it could be a skin disorder, as we covered earlier. One big worry? Excess itchiness could be a sign of liver trouble.
Next: Get your bone density checked.
9. You’re shrinking
Have you noticed you’re getting shorter? Most of us don’t give much thought to our height, but as we age, we can actually shrink. We’re talking very small amounts here — nothing like Ant Man. You should take this seriously, though, as this can signal serious health problems. Commonly, this is associated with bone loss. Or, it could mean you’re not getting enough vital nutrients like protein and calcium. That, down the line, could lead to fractures as bones lose density.
Next: Did you know this symptom could be connected to a thyroid disorder?
10. Premature graying
Going gray at an early age? Sometimes that’s just a part of getting older. Other times, it can be a sign of health problems. While you shouldn’t panic just because you’ve found a stray gray, if you’re noticing a pattern, it may be worth talking to your doctor. It could be a simple genetic quirk, but it can also be related to a number of other health conditions, including certain deficiencies and thyroid disorders.
Next: This subtle hint can mean big trouble.
11. Your legs swell
Swelling in the lower extremities may be a sign you have a thyroid, kidney, or heart condition, according to Redbook. Edema not due to physical activity should be addressed.
Next: Maybe normal aging isn’t to blame.
12. You develop wrinkles in odd spots
Although wrinkled skin is part of the normal aging process, premature or wrinkles in areas not exposed to the sun may be a sign of poor health, according to Redbook. Check for wrinkling in your upper arms, which may be a sign of high blood pressure.
Next: Your dentist can help you with this.
13. Bad breath
Poor oral hygiene may be the blame or bad breath could mean you could have gingivitis, Redbook reports. Gingivitis is a more serious form of gum disease, which could actually lead to some pretty expensive dental issues such as tooth loss.
Next: This sign should be addressed immediately.
14. Yellowing eyes
You should be able to see the whites of your eyes, but if they seem cloudy or yellow you may be dealing with a health issue, MSN reports. Other than being hungover, yellowing in the eye area may indicate jaundice, which possibly means trouble with your liver.
Next: See your doctor if this occurs.
15. Swollen neck
Neck swelling should be promptly addressed as it could mean you may have an overactive thyroid, according to MSN. Call your physician, especially if swelling occurs overnight or rapidly.
Additional reporting by Gina Ragusa.
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