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DIY Health Checks 2: Skin & Nail Check

We can learn a lot about potential underlying health issues by taking a look at our skin and nails.

For example, brittle nails and pale or yellow skin are usually signs of an iron deficiency. Scattered white spots on the nails can point to a zinc deficiency while horizontal ridges on the other hand (no pun intended) can be a sign of a protein deficiency in your diet. Looking towards your skin, dry skin can be an indicator of something more than just a beauty issue to fix! Besides the more obvious conclusion of dehydration, dry skin can also mean that you're not consuming adequate amounts of essential fatty acids or vitamin A. To check if your skin is dehydrated - pinch it and see how quickly it springs back. Skin with poor turgor (meaning it's slow to rebound to its original position) indicates dehydration. Another thing to look for when examining your skin is bruising. Be mindful of how you heal and if bruises seem to appear out of nowhere. Bruises, especially ones that result from light pressure, can also suggest that you're low in iron and protein. Furthermore, if a bruise, cut or scrape isn't healing quickly, this could also be an indication of high blood sugar or pre-diabetes, which slows circulation and causes wounds to take longer to heal. Of course while checking your skin, also look to your moles. An easy way to distinguish between one that is normal or potentially harmful is to use the ABCDEs (Assymetry, Border, Color, Diameter and Evolving). A healthy mole will be symmetrical, have a defined border, consistent color, and a diameter under 6mm and not evolve. Some of these issues addressed here, you can try and solve at home by increasing your water or protein intake or adding iron and zinc supplements to your diet. However, for the greater issues, make sure to schedule an appointment with your physician to discuss your findings!

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