Quickie on what our skin says about our health!

Our skin has the largest surface area of our body and fortunately says a lot about our body too.

So here’s a quickie on health problems, indicated by telltale signs on our skin:

Problems with Gall Bladder, Liver:  Excessively yellow skin can be indicative of excessive bile,  bilirubin production, and subsequently a problem with the gallbladder or liver disease.

HypoThyroid: Pale looking skin along with clammy, cold skin, hands and feet may indicate an underactive thyroid. Hypothyroid is a serious medical condition which may lead to even heart disease at a later stage and hence proper medical management is critical.

Varicose Veins: If you find deep blue veins visible, on your legs, it could be a sign of varicose veins. Veins help blood circulate properly.  Blood leaking and pooling into veins is often a sign of things not working well. Varicose veins may be accompanied by pain, cramping and tingling on the soles of the foot and even difficulty walking.

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are different from spider veins. While spider veins are thin and look like the spiders’ web, varicose veins are larger, thicker and often raised on the skin.

Time to connect with a doctor is when the veins start to pain and trouble.

Spider Veins
Spider Veins

Badly damaged veins may lead to a clotting and a condition known as Deep Vein Thrombosis. Treatment may include wearing compression stockings or sclerotherapy, that is injecting the vein to shut it down and even surgery.


Swollen Lymph Nodes: Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, collarbone, armpits, groin can be a sign of an infection or worst case Lymphoma.

Extremely Itchy Scratchy Skin: Extreme itchiness especially in your lower limbs, without insect, mosquito bites, without visible skin rashes may be an early sign of lymphoma.

Extreme itching worse than that experienced due to dry skin, with or without reddish inflamed skin could be what is known as Hodgkin’s itch and calls for a visit to the doctor.

Unexpected Bruises on the skin may indicate leukemia

Leukemia or Blood Cancer: Any bruises which you seem to get without remembering banging into something or getting hit, large bluish, purple patches on the skin are may be a sign of blood cancer, ALL( Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) or AML( Acute Myeloid Leukemia) and need investigation as soon as they are noticed


 ITP and other Bleeding Disorder:  Get Bruised easily or purple splotches which could be large patches known as “Purpura” or small purple specs known as “Petechiae” on the skin could also indicate a bleeding disorder known as ITP and may need further investigation.
Purpura, Petechiae may indicate ITP
Purpura, Petechiae may indicate ITP or other bleeding disorders

DiabetesUnhealed sores on the foot, brown spots on the legs could indicate diabetes. Diabetes damages capillaries and blood leaks forming rough, round, oval brown spots on the skin.

Addison’s disease: A dark coloring or pigmentation on the skin, around the lips, face, soles of the feet, palms may also indicate an endocrine disorder known as Addison’s disease. A diagnostic test measuring cortisol can diagnose Addison’s disease.

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Anaemic ! Could it be You ?

sickle cell anemia

Anaemia is very common medical condition, where the body does not produce enough healthy red blood cells or excessively destructs blood cells.
Most people have anaemia due to poor dietary habits and inadequate nutrition while certain forms of anaemia are hereditary.
Some of the early warning signs , which are common across all 400 types of anaemia are:

anemia symptoms
Early warning sign and symptoms that may appear in anemia

Fatigue : The most common warning sign of anaemia is fatigue. It occurs because the body doesn’t have enough Red Blood Cells to carry haemoglobin which contains oxygen to the cells leading to exhaustion.

Pale Skin : Paleness of the skin is usually dependent on the thickness and density of blood vessels below the skin. A lack of red blood cells due to anaemia

A very pale pallor can also be due to sickle cell anaemia ( a medical condition where abnormally shaped red blood cells block the flow of blood).

Swollen or Sore tongue : A big warning sign of anaemia is an anaemia tongue wherein ones tongue gets inflamed due to low iron levels in the body. The surface of the tongue can often smoothen out or your tongue can morph into different shades.

Swollen Hands and feet : Swollen hands and feet are a symptom of sickle cell anaemia. In sickle cell anaemia, the sickle shaped red blood cells clump together and block the flow of blood in the body – leading to the blood flow being cut off from the tissues and organs.

Shortness of breath : This occurs because the red blood cells carrying oxygen have less haemoglobin and less capacity to bind oxygen causing shortness of breath.

Brittle nails : Nails have a protective hard layer called keratin that protects the soft tissue in your nails. Lack of red blood cell production due to anaemia prohibits the growth of nails. Ridges and banding in the nails are often indicators of anaemia.

Appetite for inedible items : Pica is defined as a craving to chew or eat substances of no nutritional value such as ice, paper, chalk, pencils, wall putty etc. These unusual cravings in order to satiate the body’s appetite for iron must not be ignored as it is the first sign of anaemia.

Sickle cell anaemia is a very severe form of anaemia and is often inherited. Although those suffering from anaemia and sickle cell disease suffer from fatigue, pale pallor, shortness of breath, people suffering from just anemia rarely suffer from frequent chest infections or have painful crisis

Sicklers or people suffering from sickle cell anaemia, often have painful crisis situations, when the haemoglobin can even drop to between 1 and 3 leading to even death within few hours.

Sickles often suffer from organ damage and  may need a hip replacement . a shoulder replacement or rarely even a knee replacement.

Although Sickle cell anaemia can be managed with hydroxy urea, if the patients has reached a point where he or she suffers from chest infections, frequent painful crisis, or needs a hip replacement or shoulder replacement, a bone marrow transplant should be considered.

A bone marrow transplant, with matching donors has more than an 85% success rate and is the only possible cure and treatment for sickle cell anaemia.

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Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) Symptoms, Treatment

Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) usually develops from cells that would turn into white blood cells (other than lymphocytes). With acute types of leukemia such as AML, bone marrow cells don’t mature the way they’re supposed to. These WBC, often called blast cells, just keep multiplying and post metastasis affect kidney, ovaries, liver and other organs

Signs and Symptoms of AML:

The symptoms of AML include fatigue, fever, loss of appetite or weight, night sweats, Dizziness, feeling cold, light-headedness, headaches, shortness of breath, recurring infections and fevers, bruising for no clear reason, frequent or severe nosebleeds, bleeding gums, unusual bleeding, such as from minor cuts, bone or joint pain, a full or swollen belly from leukemia cells in the liver or , swollen spleen,  skin rashes , lumps on the body, swollen, painful, bleeding gums, headache, trouble with balance, vomiting, seizures, or blurred vision, enlarged lymph nodes such as in the neck or groin, under arms, or above the collarbone (rare).

Treatment of AML:

Treatment for AML includes chemotherapy, radiation therapy, stem cell transplant and/or immunotherapy with chemotherapy being the most common.

Tomorrow we will cover: Lymphoma Types