Your body is a pretty incredible specimen, if you think about it. So many different systems work in tandem to keep you alive and well.
Still, things can go wrong — and a machine as finely tuned as the human body has its ways of telling you that it needs your attention. Some are quite obvious, and you’ve probably experienced them. But sometimes, the message is much more subtle.
Here are six of the more unexpected ways your body might be telling you that something’s up — and what each sign means for you and your health.
1. Your Eyes Have Gone Dry
Normally, your eyes would stay lubricated with your natural tears. But your peepers have gone painfully dry — and that’s a sign that something could be happening beneath the surface.
Now, it could just be that you’re spending too much staring at screens without blinking. If so, find ways to take breaks and give your eyes a rest so that they can regenerate their supply of tears. Otherwise, your dry eyes could be signifying that you have a more serious issue, such as Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune condition that causes chronically dry eyes, among other symptoms.
2. Your Breath Has Been Better
We all have our bouts with bad breath, but we’re not talking about a temporary, post-meal scent. You can easily get rid of that kind of odor with a breath spray, toothbrushing session or another quick remedy.
Chronically bad breath can be a sign of an underlying dental issue, though. Gum disease is the usual culprit. If you have it, then bacteria has started growing in the gaps between your teeth. This bacteria can compromise the health and strength of your teeth, which is the bigger issue.
So, ask your dentist if you can’t seem to get rid of your bad breath. They can make sure it’s not a bigger problem and, if it is, they can help you solve it.
3. You Break Out Into Random Sweats
Sweating is a part of life, and it does a wealth of good for your body. Namely, it helps your body to regulate its temperature when it gets too hot. Beads of sweat on the surface of the skin help it to cold down more quickly.
So, it makes sense that you’d sweat when you’re working out hard in the gym. Some people get a little sweaty when they’re nervous and that makes sense, too. An alarm bell should go off if you randomly start sweating for no reason, though.
For many people, random bouts of sweating signify that there’s a serious disease lurking beneath the surface. Sometimes, it’s a metabolic problem that causes sweating. In more rare cases, sweating can be a sign of cancer or of an impending heart attack. So, if you find yourself heating up for no reason, it could be a sign that you need to see a doctor ASAP.
4. Your Fingers Change Colors When You’re Cold
Heading out into the cold without gloves would be painful for anyone. But if your discomfort comes with fingers that change colors then, well, your body could be trying to tell you something.
Raynaud’s disease causes arteries to constrict, which means that blood flow to the fingers all but ceases. This means your digits will change colors, first going white, then a shade of blue. You can treat Raynaud’s with medication, but you can prevent attacks by keeping your extremities warm. So, if your hands go white and painful whenever it’s cold, talk to your doctor.
5. You’re Gaining or Losing Weight Inexplicably
Weight is nothing but a number — most of the time, anyway. If you shed a noticeable amount of pounds without trying, or if you gain weight without a logical explanation, then you should make an appointment to see your doctor.
Both of these bodily changes can point to an underlying illness or condition. In terms of weight loss, many people experience extreme weight loss ahead of a cancer diagnosis. Weight gain, meanwhile, can point to a thyroid issue. Targeting each one as early as possible can help your doctors treat them more effectively and, ultimately, restore your good health.
6. Your Nails Have Started Growing Weirdly
Finally, have a look at your fingernails. Are they growing up, as they should? Or do they appear to be growing out around your finger? The latter is one half of what’s called nail clubbing, a sign of lung disease.
If you’re experiencing nail clubbing, it’s not just your nails that will change. The tips of your fingers will appear to balloon, and the nail will grow around the bulbous tips. As always, it’s time to see a doctor if you note that your nails have changed in this way.
Pay Attention and Safeguard Your Health
These are only six of the ways your body will change in order to send you a message. That’s why the best way to keep yourself healthy is to pay attention. If something seems out of the ordinary, ask a pro. They can explain why it’s happening and help you get better, whether it’s a minor problem or something more serious.
In the end, though, you’ll be happy to know what’s going on. And you will thanks to your amazing body, which sent you a signal that you heeded.
Kara Reynolds is the Editor-in-Chief and founder of Momish Magazine. Mom and step mom living her best life while managing anxiety and normalizing blended families. She enjoys pilates, podcasts, and a nice pinot grigio.
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.