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One of the many wonderful things about your body is that it has built-in sickness sensors, and experts say you can spot early warning signs of even serious conditions simply by looking at your body.
Check Your Nails
If you see dark lines on the nail beds, it could mean you have skin cancer. Yellowish, brown, or black stripes are a sign of cell damage, possibly from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, says Ariel Ostad, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City.
With early detection and treatment, though, about 95 percent of cases are curable, so have your dermatologist take a second look.
If you see long, white, horizontal bands of discoloration on the nail’s surface and you’ve been feeling fatigued lately, it could be bad news for your kidneys.
“These bands can be a signal that the kidneys aren’t able to filter out protein from your urine,” Ostad says. That means your body is losing protein faster than you can shovel in filet mignon–and that can lead to kidney failure. Visit your doctor ASAP for a urine test.
Check Your Armpits
If you see a patch of rough, dark skin, it could be a diabetes warning. Excess insulin in your bloodstream can cause skin cells to multiply abnormally fast, leading to a buildup of tissue and melanin. This makes the skin look darker and feel thicker, and most commonly occurs in the armpits, neck, or groin. A simple blood test can determine whether you have the disease.
Check Your Eyelids, Knees, And Elbows
If you see small, soft lumps that look white or waxy, they could be small deposits of cholesterol. Unfortunately, this sign could mean your cholesterol levels are unhealthy; a serious risk factor for heart disease.
The good news is that reducing your numbers by just 10 percent slashes that risk by as much as a third. See your doctor for a cholesterol check, and ask them about lifestyle changes or prescription drugs that can get your levels down.