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What Our Bodies Say

Ridges in fingernails, stocky legs, and our sense of smell. Our bodies offer seemingly odd signs to possible present or future health conditions. All we have to do is pay attention, check it out with our doctor, and do what we can to maintain good health.

At the end of May, I had a medical event that sent me to the emergency room. I have no memory of the paramedics, the ride in an ambulance, or much of the time in the ER. The cause is still unclear. A vascular condition found through subsequent doctor visits and testing may or may not have anything to do with it. I temporarily lost some hearing in my left ear, which has since returned to normal, but one odd result continues to remind me of that evening. I have a deep ridge in my right thumb nail which I’ve watched move up the nail as the months have passed.


According to some studies, deep horizontal depressions across the nail bed, that are not due to injury, are called Beau’s lines. They may be a sign of uncontrolled diabetes, circulatory diseases, or any illness associated with a high fever.

Here are a few other curious signs that may signal a current or future health condition:

  • Stocky legs between 20 and 29 inches in women tended to have higher levels of enzymes that may result in liver disease.

  • Older adults who cannot identify the scent of bananas, lemons, or cinnamon are five times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease within 4 years.

  • Linear wrinkles in one or both ear lobes may predict future cardiovascular events. A crease on one lobe raises the risk by 33 %, and if creases are found on both lobes, the risk is as high as 77%.

  • Women who wore a size D bra or larger at age 20 were 1.5 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

  • Weak, brittle, or splitting fingernails, that are not harmed by a manicure, acrylic nails, or gel wraps, may be due to advancing age or a deficiency in Vitamins A, C, or biotin.

  • Dark, vertical lines on finger nails are common in dark-skinned people but also can be due to benign moles in the nail bed. However, a single new or changing band can be a malignant melanoma.

  • Bulging eye balls are a common sign of Grave’s disease (overactive thyroid).

  • A grey ring around the cornea, which is called arcus senililis, often occurs with high cholesterol and triglycerides.

  • And always be aware of a mole or marking anywhere on your skin that changes in shape or color.

(Most of the information for this post was taken from

©2015, Mary K. Doyle

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