Our bodies speak loud and clear, we should listen, but we can also look at these obvious signs that are staring back at us in the mirror. Sheila Long is a nurse. She feels bad she did not do more to help prevent her husband’s fatal heart attack. I asked her why she thought she could have done more. “His earlobes had such distinct creases.” Sheila wrote.
Yes there are the obvious signs. We cannot button our pants, and we know we’re already gone up a size once or two in the past few years.
However, did you know a crease in your earlobe could mean a future heart attack? Or your ring finger being longer than your index finger can indicate you’re prone to osteoarthritis? (Caught you looking) And losing your sense of smell is not a sign of aging, but possibly Parkinson’s disease. Are you well endowed? A D cup may also spell diabetes. Interested? Read on.
Earlobe crease: Linear wrinkles in one or both lobes may predict future cardiovascular events (heart attack, bypass surgery, or cardiac death.) A crease on one lobe raises the risk by 33%; a crease on both lobes increases it by 77%, even after adjusting for other known risk factors. Though experts aren’t exactly sure, they suspect a loss of elastic fibers may cause both the crease and the hardening of arteries.
Prevent it: Keep your heart healthy in other ways: Slim down, and lower your cholesterol and blood pressure (Your crease might be here to stay, but controlling or preventing heart disease is up to you)
Jeans size:Adults who have larger abdomens in their 40s are up to 3.6 times as likely to develop dementia in their 70s, even if they weren’t overweight, according to a study published in the journal Neurology. One possible reason for the link is that compared with subcutaneous fat (the noticeable fat that lies just below the skin), visceral fat (the dangerous fat that surrounds the organs) secretes more of the inflammatory hormones that are associated with cognitive decline.
Prevent it: Eat a portion-controlled Mediterranean-style diet. Research shows that the monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) in foods such as olives, nuts, seeds, avocado, and dark chocolate prevent the accumulation of visceral fat.
Bra size: A D cup may also spell diabetes: Women who wore a bra size D or larger at age 20 were 1.5 times more likely to develop type 2 than those who wore an A or smaller, even after researchers adjusted for obesity, diet, smoking, and family history, in a 10-year study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. It may be that the fat tissue in a woman’s breast is hormonal sensitive and influences insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes, say researchers.
Prevent it: Incorporate high-intensity intervals into your exercise routine. In one study, adults who did six 30-second sprints on an exercise bike (resting 4 minutes in between) improved their body’s ability to metabolize blood sugar by nearly 25% after six sessions—enough to lower their risk of diabetes.
Finger length: Women whose index fingers are shorter than their ring fingers may be twice as prone to osteoarthritis in the knees, found British researchers. Those with this predominately male characteristic tend to have lower levels of estrogen, which may also play a role in the development of osteoarthritis, say researchers.
Prevent it: Strengthen the muscles surrounding your knees. While sitting, straighten each leg parallel to the floor 10 times; hold each rep for 5 to 10 seconds.
Calf size: Though it sounds counter intuitive, a French study found that women with small calves (13 inches or less around) tended to develop more carotid plaques, a known risk factor for stroke. The subcutaneous fat in larger calves may pull fatty acids from the bloodstream and store them where they are less of a risk factor, say researchers.
Prevent it: No need to bulk up your grams, but sip green tea to stay heart healthy. In a study of more than 40,500 Japanese men and women, those who drank five or more cups of green tea every day had the lowest risk of dying of heart disease and stroke.
Sense of smell: Older adults who couldn’t identify the scent of bananas, lemons, cinnamon, or other items were five times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease within 4 years, according to a 2008 study. The researchers believe that the area of the brain responsible for olfactory function may be one of the first impacted by Parkinson’s disease—somewhere between 2 and 7 years prior to diagnosis.
Prevent it: Take fish oil supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids can boost your brain’s resistance to MPTP. This information has been gathered from the NIH – Lois Trader is the author of this article. But, there is nothing new under the sun. Proper diet and exercise are the keys to a life filled with health. There are no negative side effects to implementing new healthy habits.