Your skin is the largest organ in your body. Not only does it protect you from elements and infections outside of your body, but it also helps protect you from what’s happening on the inside by letting you know what’s going on. Is your skin “speaking” to you and you just haven’t been paying attention? Here are some common ways your skin may be showing you early warning signs for potential issues and what you can do when your skin starts to tell on you.
1. Rash on your back, knees or elbows
Could Mean: Celiac disease. Celiac disease is triggered by an immune reaction to gluten, a type of protein found in grains like rye, barley and wheat. Common symptoms of celiac disease are gas and bloating, but in 25 percent of patients an itchy or blistering rash can be a telling sign. Left untreated, celiac disease can lead to osteoporosis and anemia.
If you suspect you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, have your doctor do a blood test. The rash should clear naturally once gluten is eliminated from your diet.
2. Chapped lips
Could Mean: Vitamin B deficiency. Cracks in the corners of your mouth and dry, chapped lips could mean you’re not getting enough B vitamins in your diet. Vitamin B helps form red blood cells and helps your body turn the food you eat into energy. A lack of vitamin B could lead to anemia.
Increase your vitamin B intake with foods like fish, eggs, leafy green vegetables and beans.
3. Yellow-tinted skin
Could Mean: Gallstones. According to WebMD, “Gallstones form when cholesterol and other things found in bile make stones. They can also form if the gallbladder does not empty as it should.” Gallstones can be smaller than a grain of sand or the size of a large golf ball, and when one blocks your bile ducts the build up can turn your skin yellow as well as cause back and abdominal pain.
Most people with gallstones do not have symptoms, but if you notice any skin discoloration, back/abdominal pain or the pain worsens when you eat, see a doctor immediately. If the stone doesn’t pass, surgery to remove it may be needed.