The long and short of it: health clues in fingers and arms

Can the length of a person’s fingers and arms put them at a higher risk for serious diseases? New research is examining how certain appendages are giving doctors clues into cancer, stroke and Alzheimer’s.

A study shows a mutation in the gene responsible for red hair may also control the way the brain regulates pain sensitivity—meaning redheads feel more pain!

Other bodily indicators include the length of a person’s fingers. A study in the Journal of Communications found if a person has a smaller index finger than ring finger, they are more likely to be verbally aggressive.

A 2010 study revealed that men whose index finger is longer than their ring finger are one-third less likely to get prostate cancer.

And short people may have the last laugh: a study published in the Western Journal of Medicine found the onset of chronic disease is delayed in people with smaller frames.

The length of a person’s arm could also be a tell-tale sign of Alzheimer’s disease. Women with arms less than 60 inches across may be one-and-a-half times more likely to develop the degenerative disease.

Studies have found that women with smaller calves may have a higher risk of stroke, while the coloration of a person’s fingers or does could indicate a heart issue.

A person’s sense of smell is lacking, researchers warn that it could be related to the onset of Parkinson’s disease.

REPORT #1972

WHAT YOUR BODY PARTS SAYS ABOUT YOUR HEALTH: From the color of a person's hair to the hand one writes with; some researchers believe that genetics may help forecast the risk of certain health issues. They can also be a gateway into revealing why some people develop certain personalities.

WHAT YOUR FEET SAY: If your toes are always cold, one reason could be poor blood flow -- a circulatory problem sometimes linked to smoking, high blood pressure, or heart disease. The nerve damage of uncontrolled diabetes can also make your feet feel cold to you. Other possible causes include hypothyroidism and anemia. A doctor can look for any underlying problems -- or let you know that you simply have cold feet. (Source:

WHAT YOUR NAILS SAY: A touch of white here, a rosy tinge there, or some rippling or bumps may be a sign of disease in the body. Problems in the liver, lungs, and heart can show up in your nails. (Source:

WHAT YOUR SKIN SAYS: Many underlying health conditions -- some very serious -- first appear as skin problems. For example:

* A butterfly rash across the face is often the first sign of lupus.
* Velvety plaques in the neck and/or armpit suggest diabetes. This condition -- acanthosis nigricans -- could be benign or be caused by obesity. But it is very often a sign of diabetes.

WHAT THE HAND YOU WRITE WITH SAYS: Studies reveal that left handed people tend to be more creative than their right-handed counter-parts, but there are also some studies that show that left-handed people tend to suffer from anxiety more than right handed people. (Source:

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