Believe it or not, the condition of your hands can reveal many hidden problems, from poor circulation to liver disease. If you’re wondering why your hands are red, hot, blotchy, tingly, or lumpy, read on for the most common health problems that affect hands.
They’re often the first part of our body to show signs of aging, but small changes on our hands, like red palms or dry skin, can indicate a lot more. “They can be useful signs of subtle or more serious health changes occurring elsewhere,” explains Wendy Denning, MD, of Health Practitioners Practice in London.
What does cold hands mean?
Although usually a sign of poor circulation, cold hands can also be a sign of low blood pressure, an underactive thyroid, or Raynaud’s disease. Raynaud’s disease affects how well your circulation works. Symptoms may include white or blue fingertips, pain, and numbness.
“These may indicate stress because the heart is pumping blood to other parts of the body,” says Dr. Denning.
What about cold hands?
Low blood pressure (less than 90/60 mmHg) is usually desirable, but could be due to an underlying problem, such as an irregular heartbeat, so contact your doctor if your hands continue to feel cold.
If your thyroid isn’t working well — and it happens as you get older — you can experience fatigue, weight gain, depression, and even heart problems. Doctors often prescribe a drug called levothyroxine to treat it, but it’s important to eat a healthy diet, including selenium, a trace element found in Brazil nuts, seeds, lentils, and shellfish, which can be taken in supplement form.