Six Ways Your Body May Clue You In to Possible Health Problems
(NEW YORK) — From the eyes and ears to the fingertips, the human body can offer small hints that reveal a lot about a person’s health, some medical experts say.
Dr. Michael Wald, a holistic doctor in Mount Kisco, N.Y. who calls himself the “Blood Detective,” said that people should pay attention to features like creases in their ears and the length of their arms because they can serve as clues to medical issues such as heart disease.
1. Ear Crease
A 74-year-old man with an increased risk for heart disease said that while he’d noticed the crease in his ear, he’d paid little to no attention to it.
“That diagonal earlobe crease that goes from the very bottom of the ear up in a diagonal fashion — it really is an enfolding of tissue and that is what is being associated with heart disease,” Wald said.
One study found that 71 percent of people with that crease suffered from heart disease.
2. Ear Wax
Wald said that even ear wax has been linked to heart disease.
“We’re basically born genetically with one of two different types of ear wax,” he said. “There is a wet, sticky type and a dry, brittle type and if you are more of a dry, brittle type, you are at more of a risk of heart disease as opposed to the wet one.”
Wald said the connection has something to do with the way the body handles oil and fat.
3. Five O’Clock Shadow
Wald said that the five o’clock shadow could mean that a man “probably will have a lower risk of cardiovascular risk in the future because that five o’clock is produced by testosterone. The more testosterone you have, the less risk of heart disease.”
4. Arms and Legs
Arms shorter than 60 inches could signal an increased risk of heart disease.
And long arms have been associated with a chance of reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Doctors say they think it’s linked to the embryo’s exposure to different hormones like estrogen and testosterone.
Calves less than 13 inches around could also signal heart problems.
“Sometimes small calves reflect increased risk in circulation and increased risk in cardiovascular disease,” Wald said.
5. ‘Nail Clubbing’
Nail clubbing occurs when the tissue at the tips of the fingers start to cover the nail. Studies have shown that 80 percent of people with clubbing fingernails have serious illness, heart disease, lung disease or cancer.
6. Green Nasal Mucus
Green nasal mucus has been associated with a higher instance of heart disease. The green mucus contains a chemical that gives it that color. The chemical can damage tissues in the sinuses, in the lungs or in the heart.
Wald said that if a person had any of these traits, they should not panic.
“If you see something that you have just read or heard, take that to your doctor, and that might lead him or her to test you a little bit differently or question you a little bit differently, and then see what is really going on,” he said.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio