By: Alonso Chavarriaga
There are many traditional vital signs that can be observed to determine your health, including blood pressure and weight.
However, there are several other ways to get more insight into your health, explains Dr. Susanne Bennett.
Your stool can tell many stories about your health. Every factor from size, shape, and color can help provide clues into your current body’s health. If it looks broken down, dry, or cracked and in small pieces, it may be that your body is dehydrated. If it’s too watery, it could be a sign of diarrhea.
As for color, it should be a light brown. If it has bright red coloring or red spots, you may have internal tearing towards the end of your digestive tract. Black or very dark stool can mean bleeding at the beginning of your digestive tract.
Your fingernails can provide lots of information about your health, habits, and even anxiety levels. The ideal appearance for healthy nails should be strong, pinkish, and smooth, with a white crescent at the base of the nail where it joins the cuticle. This small white area is a great indicator of good blood flow and overall circulation.
The color alone can be telling. If your nails are very white, it may be a sign of liver problems; if they are yellow, a fungal or respiratory infection could be present. Blue nails signal weak blood circulation and mean that your body is low in oxygen.
Shape and strength are two other important factors to consider. If your nails are brittle and crack easily, it could be thyroid dysfunction or protein deficiency. Softness can mean anemia and iron deficiencies, as well as heart or lung problems. Nails that seem to grow in a curved shape can also indicate cardiovascular problems. Lastly, white dots can be a sign of zinc deficiency. This is more common in children, and the nails may take between three and six months to heal.
When you go to the doctor and they ask to see your tongue, they may be looking for several different things. Nearly all health practitioners agree that a tongue can help determine someone’s health. A healthy tongue should be pink, glistening, and have small nodules called papillae.
If your tongue is cracked or looks dry, it could be a sign of dehydration. However, if the cracking is coupled with black lines and yellow or white fuzz on the tongue, it may be an indication of digestive issues. The yellow fuzz tends to stem from indigestive problems, while white fuzz can mean fungal or yeast overgrowth. This white fuzz can also develop into thrush if not treated.
When a baby is delivered, it’s exposed to the mother’s yeast and flora on the way out. If the mother had a yeast overgrowth at the time, the baby may develop thrush a few weeks after birth unless probiotics are administered to both mother and child.
A geographic tongue that looks like a roadmap usually signals chronic digestive issues like Crohn’s Disease or irritable bowel syndrome. Also, take a look at the sides of your tongue; if there are indentations left from your teeth and your tongue appears swollen, it may be a sign of hypoglycemia. Lastly, inspecting under the tongue and finding dark blood vessels and red veins can indicate heavy metal toxicity.
In this "Nature’s Secrets" segment, Dr. Susanne goes over tongue diagnosis, and fingernail and stool analysis; all of which can reveal a good deal about a person’s overall health, habits and even anxiety levels.