7 Small Symptoms That Could Signal Major Medical Issues
Calm down; you're probably fine. Probably. Keep an eye on those weird marks on your body, though, especially the new ones that popped up out of nowhere. If it doesn't wash off after a week, it's worth monitoring instead of just covering up with a turtleneck and hoping it goes away.
We promise your doctor won't laugh in your face if you bring it ...
Forget Palm Readings, Your Earlobe Wrinkles May Reveal Your Cardiovascular Future
In the '70s, doctors started noticing some positive correlation between creases in the earlobe and an increase in coronary artery disease rates. Frank's Sign takes its name from one of those doctors. No one really knows how it works, most assuming it results from smoking, poor diet, other lifestyle factors, or just your earlobe trying to cleave itself from your body in a desperate escape attempt.
Physicians classify the crease into three distinct ratings, unilateral complete, unilateral incomplete, and bilateral complete, based on depth and symmetry. It's most prevalent in the elderly and still under debate, but maybe don't totally disregard it. Heart conditions are nothing to sneeze at. Racking up a body count only rivaled by malaria, heart conditions are the leading killer in most of the Western world. The earlier you observe the symptoms, the better.
You Can Diagnose Chlamydia By Flipping Your Eyelid Up
Something as minor as sharing a hanky can cause blindness -- a good reason to not share a mask, give a friend a high-eye either. Chlamydia isn't just an embarrassing sexually-transmitted disease; it's a general life-ruiner. But there's a pretty good way to cheaply determine if your itchy, runny eyes are something serious or not; you just need to flip your eyelids up to get a better look at the symptomatic body part:
That beauty above is trachoma scarring from a bacterial infection. Other symptoms include, but are not limited to, sensitivity to light and pus. The mark is prominent, but only if you are the sort of person who flips up their eyelids to make goofy faces to gross out your little brother, admittedly something most of us haven't done since we were 12.
Easily ignored, if you let the scarring pass untreated, you possibly risk blindness. Because children are animate bacterial swabs, kids are also at risk. So, let them make faces once in a while. It's for their own good. Either way, if you see this blister-like mark on you or a child, get your ass in gear while there's still time.
Checking Your Gums Is The Easiest Way To See If You Have Lead Poisoning
If you put off a trip to your doctor, you probably aren't too keen on dentists either. Which leaves you especially susceptible to missing the early warning signs of lead poisoning (and free toothbrushes). Hope you have a mirror handy. You only need to find the telltale stain. Doctors call it the Burton Line, a blueish gray striation that is located near where the teeth protrude from the gums, leaving them looking like Papa Smurf's taint.
By reacting with the microbes in your mouth, lead is converted into lead sulfide, settling in deposits in your gums. While this sounds like a fairly stupid thing to worry about, for people across the world, even in cities blessed with supposedly advanced, well-maintained, municipal-water-distribution systems, shit still goes awry. That's a nice way of saying that lead poisoning is often covered up. You have only yourself to count on.
If Your Labia Starts Turning Blue, Put The Chardonnay And Juul Down ASAP
Nobody wants to look down and see their privates change colors like a mood ring, but such is life. Genital tissue that flashes a discolored hue of blue is a major indicator that you're pregnant, your vulva swelling with blood.
First, congratulations! Second, please, don't have a gender reveal party. Third, don't worry; it's a normal effect of the pregnancy process.
At about six to eight weeks, you can predict a fetus in the oven using this method, and you don't even need a medical degree. As not everyone gets morning sickness, has regular menstrual cycles, nor changes in eating habits, etc., it's not unusual for women to fail to visibly show proof of pregnancy for months after conception.
Twitching Eyelids and Corners Of Your Mouth Are Syphilis Symptoms
Suffer from a lot of involuntary twitches and facial tics? There's a dire explanation that could answer why: an opportunistic bacteria named Treponema pallidum. You know him by his nickname, syphilis. There's treatment, and the faster, the better, because it's on the rise, especially in Europe, and that shit will eat through your brain, bones, and whatever gets in the way like Pac-Man making a bee-line to a power-up. Let it grow unchecked, and your head is toast, or as neurologists describe it, "worm-eaten." Photographic evidence of Swiss-cheese marked skulls should sober up the hardiest libertine:
Infection wreaks havoc in large part because it is frequently hidden, patients asymptomatic for years. As your nervous system and spine are affected, your body begins to spasm uncontrollably. In some examples, this might be the first symptom, and it's already too late. Al Capone survived bullets and Alcatraz, but he stood no chance versus osteomyelitis. By the end of his life, Scarface was so stricken by madness that he couldn't even understand his goons when they told him to stop making faces at them.
That Inexplicable Bruise on Your Elbow or Thigh Could Be COPD Quietly Taunting You
Before you rule out that dark spot on your arm as the result of an inconsequential bump, you might want to talk to a doctor, especially if you are over 40. COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a sneaky bastard. Treating it is hard, and if left ignored, it hampers end-of-life health and can be fatal.
Affectionately called the "Thinker's Sign" (just like the Rodin statue), physicians typically refer to the tell-tale bruise pattern as Dahl's Sign.
Blood pools in certain parts of the body after a prolonged period of pressure, a common problem in those with the respiratory disease. Dahl's Sign is basically a bedsore but for people who sit instead of laying down. Meaning doctors (or a spouse or caregiver) can reasonably detect COPD by looking at someone in their underwear, not that we're suggesting you ogle half-naked elderly people.
As a result of resting their elbow on their leg too long, there arises a comorbid condition known as ulnar nerve entrapment, a pinched nerve. So, should you find Nana striking an unusually-introspective pose in front of the TV for hours (and they aren't trying to solve the puzzle on Wheel of Fortune), maybe check that shit out.
Stripey-Looking Nails and Bad Breath Are A Dead Give Away Your Kidneys Are Failing
Notice any stripes on your fingernails? If so, you either have damaged keratin or a case of Muehrcke's Nails. In the latter case, the funky-looking nails either indicate a serious issue with your bowels or your kidneys. Your fingernail is your body's way of screaming for help. Take heed.
Oddly, Muehrcke's Nails have predominance on the middle fingers, not the thumb or pinky. If this sounds dumb, doctors specialize in examining your hands long before they ask you any questions, even identifying metal poisoning in the same manner. Just another thing for you body-conscious readers to freak about the next time you go to the doctor's office in those stupid paper gowns.
In the case you have ugly nails, stinky breath is something you ought to monitor as well. While it might be merely halitosis or a dead tooth, there is an especially-unpleasant symptom of kidney failure known as "uremic fetor," a.k.a. fish breath. This one hits you right in the face. The tragedy is that the people who most want to keep you alive also are the people least likely to hurt your feelings and scream at you to chug some Listerine.
Top image: Canley/Wikimedia Commons, Verma, Santhosh, Et. Al./Journal of Gastroenterology