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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Swollen Legs and Feet ! Could it be something serious ?

kidney disease
Edema, swelling in legs

Many of us have swollen limbs, especially legs , ankles, feet which feel soft and cushiony due to water retention.

More often swollen legs and feet can be due to inactivity, sitting and standing at one position without moving.

This pulls the fluid down towards lower limbs, making them swell.

The swelling due to water retention is called edema.

However swollen legs and feet are often a sign of serious health problems such as kidney disease, cardio vascular problems or heart disease, liver disease, hormones being taken during HRT, deep vein thrombosis and sometimes even medication for diabetes and anti depressants.

Chronic pulmonary embolism may also lead to thromboembolism where a blood clot may travel to other parts of the body.

Incase the blood clot travels to the brain, it could lead to partial paralysis and even a stroke. Blood thinners may be advised to reduce risk of clotting.
As a 1st check, your doctor may prescribe diuretics and ask you to cut down on salt.

Then a few diagnostic tests such KFT( Kidney Function test), LFT( Liver function test), Echo, ECG may be advised.

Do watch out for signs like pain in one limb, heat generated in one limb, loss of consciousness, shortness of breath, fast or rapid heart beat and rush to the doctor as you may be experiencing thromboembolism.

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