Believe or not, your hands actually say a lot about your overall health. Reading hand symptoms can help predict potential health conditions and prevent existing ones from getting worse. Here we have compiled 10 hand signs and symptoms and what they could mean:
1. Dry hands
It’s common for skin tissue of the hand to become dry in winter months since the seasonably low humidity draws moisture out of the skin. If you work in a hospital, restaurant, or anywhere where you frequently wash your hands, this may also contribute to dryness. This is because every time we wash our hands, we strip natural oils from our hands’ skin, which provide moisture. This can be easily remedied by carrying a small bottle of hand lotion or moisturizing cream to re-hydrate your hands whenever they are feeling dry.
A lack of essential fatty-acids such as omega-6 can cause dryness, too. Foods like tofu and walnuts can help solve this.
2. Trigger finger
Trigger finger, a.k.a. stenosing tenosynovitis, is where the finger (usually the ring finger or thumb) gets locked into the contracted position and pops or snaps when you try to straighten it.
This happens because the tendon becomes inflamed, making it harder to extend the finger. Anyone can develop this condition, but it is seen more often in women than men. It’s also more common in people who have to repetitively clasp or grip things in their daily work. People with thyroid disease and diabetes also have a higher risk of developing trigger fingers as well.
3. Cold hands
Everyone gets cold hands or feet from time to time—it’s only natural—but if your hands often feel cold even in warm temperatures, it could be a sign of a condition called Raynaud’s, which is characterized by a decrease in blood flow to the fingers due to cold, stress, or emotional trauma.
There are two kinds of Raynaud’s: primary Raynuad’s, which remains a medical mystery and occurs on its own, and secondary Raynaud’s, which may be a symptom of some other disease that can decrease blood flow or damage tissues in your hands or fingers.
4. Tingling hands
Some people may wake up with numb hands or with a feeling of pins and needles after sleeping with the wrists bent. This kind of temporary tingling is caused by pressure on nerves.
In some cases, however, tingling hands, sometimes accompanied by itching and pain, may be a sign of nerve damage known as peripheral neuropathy (PN). It’s estimated that there are more than 20 million Americans, mostly older adults, who suffer from PN, which is often due to a combination of many factors, ranging from unhealthy habits such as smoking and alcohol abuse to diseases such as diabetes.