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Wondering if you’re unhealthy? Considering less than 3% of Americans are living a healthy life, there’s a high chance your health could improve.

In this post, you’ll learn all about the visual signs of poor health, so you can see how you can make healthy changes.

Ready? Let’s get started.

Understanding Poor Health

Most of us are incredibly busy. We’re juggling kids, careers, aging parents, side hustles, and our social lives. For this reason, often the first things to disappear are healthy eating and working out.

Healthy meals are replaced by takeout or Uber Eats. You’re too busy for the gym, and you drive to work before spending all day sitting. It’s no wonder that so many Americans are sicker than ever before.

It’s not just older Americans. Young people are now dealing with more chronic diseases and illnesses at younger ages than they have at any time in recent history. And while humans are living for longer, we’re also getting much sicker.

According to the National Council on Aging, cancer diagnosis is expected to increase by up to 179.4%, while diabetes will increase by close to 120%.

Visual Signs of Poor Health

Unfortunately, many of us fail to appreciate our health until it’s gone. But by keeping an eye out on the visual signs of poor health, you can act fast and take preventative measures before you’re dealing with a big problem.

Here are 12 signs you shouldn’t ignore:

1. Sweating

Noticing a sweaty forehead more often than not? Perhaps you’ve got a line of sweat consistently down your back?

If you’re sweating more than usual, this can be caused by a number of factors. These include excess weight, stress, hot flashes, heart issues, diabetes, thyroid problems, or hormone issues.

If you’ve suddenly noticed that you’re sweating more than usual, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor so you can rule out any serious underlying medical conditions.

2. Swelling

Swelling can often be attributed to a buildup of fluid or inflammation. There are many conditions which can cause swelling, and one of the most common reasons for swollen ankles and feet is poor circulation.

In older people, this swelling can mean that your blood vessels are getting weaker, but it can also indicate that you have a blood clot.

One thing to watch out for is edema. This happens when you have too much fluid building up in your body, and it can damage your heart.

If you have swollen ankles or you’ve noticed abnormal swelling and you’re pregnant, talk to your doctor as soon as possible.

3. Bags Under Your Eyes

If you’re constantly exhausted, don’t just dismiss it because ‘everyone is tired.’ Paying attention is important because there is a list of conditions that cause fatigue and some are very serious.

If you feel like you’re getting enough sleep each night, but you’re still exhausted and have those sneaky bags under your eyes, it’s a good idea to go to the doctor for a checkup. Just a few of the conditions that cause fatigue and tiredness include diabetes, depression, heart disease, and thyroid disorders.

4. Bad Nails

Your fingernails can tell you a lot about your health. If you have horizontal lines, this is from poor nutrition or past illness. Spoon-shaped nails are related to anemia. And if your nails are reddish-brown at the tip and pale at the cuticle, your kidneys may not be working properly.

If you’re constantly noticing weird things going on with your fingernails, you may have certain mineral or vitamin deficiencies. So it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor.

5. Cracked Lips

Are you using enough lip balm that you should be buying stock? While chapped lips are common during the winter months, you may actually be deficient in B vitamins.

This is particularly common if you’re deficient in B12. While chapstick is great, it won’t take care of your underlying problem, which is why you should consider adding foods rich in Vitamin B and a daily vitamin to your routine.

6. Inflamed Gums

Are your gums red? Do they sometimes bleed? If you’re noticing that your gums are inflamed, you may need to go to the dentist. That’s because the bacteria that causes gum disease also causes heart disease. And the more plaque you have in your mouth, the more you typically have in your arteries. Poor dental hygiene can also mean you’re predisposed to type 2 diabetes.

Our bodies use inflammation to fight off pathogens. But this is also a good warning sign that you need to control gum disease. Frequent dental cleanings, brushing, and regularly flossing your teeth will help keep gum disease at bay.

7. Cold Sores

If you’re someone who suffers from cold sores, you’re probably already well aware of how miserable they can be. Cold sores are a big sign that something’s not going well in your body- which is why we tend to get them when we’re feeling run down.

Cold sores are actually the herpes simplex virus type 1. It’s spread through saliva and skin contact, and approximately 80% of people have it, although it may be dormant in your body for years before you get a cold sore. Outbreaks are triggered by fever, colds, sun exposure, and exhaustion.

If you’re constantly getting cold sores, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor as there are medications that can help.

8. A Colorful or Large Mole

Generally, moles are benign. However, if you notice that one is colorful or large, it can be a sign of melanoma. This is the most common form of skin cancer.

There are a few rules to keep in mind, and they fall under A-B-C-D:

Asymmetry- the mole should be round and symmetrical.

Border- the mole shouldn’t be irregularly shaped.

Color- the color should be consistent across the surface.

Diameter- the mole shouldn’t be larger than a pencil eraser.

If you notice any of the above, you’ll need to see a dermatologist who can rule out anything serious.

9. Changes in Body Hair

Our body hair develops during and after puberty. As we age, our body hair will gradually change.

However, the key word there is ‘gradual.’ If you notice any sudden changes, these could be signs of a hormone imbalance. For women, if you’re experiencing irregular periods and excessive hair growth, you may have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

This is when your ovaries contain small collections of cysts. Other symptoms include insulin resistance, weight gain, and acne.

If you’re suddenly losing your hair, this can also be a sign that something is going on with your hormones. It may also be a sign that your body isn’t taking in nutrients from your food as it should

10. Bloodshot Eyes

This symptom, combined with dry mouth, shaking or tremors, fatigue, unhealthy nails, skin, and hair, and frequent hangovers could be a sign that you’re drinking too much.

When you don’t drink, you may notice that you feel like you have the flu- although these are actually withdrawal symptoms. This article is a good guide to addiction.

If you’re noticing these symptoms, you may have an alcohol addiction. Other signs include decreased motivation, relationship problems, acting out, and more.

11. You’re Shorter

If your doctor measured you a couple of years ago and you’re now shorter, this is a sign of osteoporosis. This is when your bones begin to degenerate.

Many people assume that aging and bone loss go hand-in-hand but this doesn’t have to be the case. You can actually have healthy bones your entire life.

If you’re getting shorter, your bones need you to prioritize their health- otherwise, you could end up with breaks, fractures, or even a humpback.

Protect your bones by getting enough vitamin D, natural calcium, and strength training.

12. Your Body Is Apple-Shaped

People who are overweight usually fall into two different categories. Pears tend to carry most of their weight around their thighs and hips. Apples usually carry it around their belly and waist.

You’re probably well aware that being overweight is a sign of poor health. But if your body is apple-shaped, you’re at higher risk of heart disease. This makes it even more important that you get enough exercise and focus on eating healthy foods.

This can sound easy, but we all know that lifestyle changes can take time. Introduce changes gradually- get off at an earlier bus stop and walk to work, or walk around your office building each hour. Choose healthier versions of the foods you love and you’ll soon see a difference.

Wrapping up

Paying attention to small signs of unhealthiness now can make a massive difference to your health later on.

The above visual signs of poor health are a great place to start, but you may also want to keep track of skin changes, unexplained weight gain and loss, and more.

Of course, you should also keep track of non-visual changes such as your sleep habits and how you feel each day.

Want to learn more about taking control of your health? Check out our health blog posts today.