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Entries in Self-Checks (1)

Wednesday
Apr132011

Ten Self-Checks Women Should Do Before Breakfast

Jim Arbogast/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- There are nine things women should check each morning before starting their day, according to Women's Health

The magazine has compiled a list to inform women of the most important areas of the body to observe daily:

1.  Nails.  Dr. Ariel Ostad, a dermatologist in New York City, tells Women's Health that if one sees dark lines on the nail beds, this could be a sign of cell damage and possibly melanoma -- the deadliest form of skin cancer.  Ostad advises women to with this symptom to have a dermatologist take a look.  She adds that about 95 percent of cases are curable with early detection and treatment.

On the other hand, if one sees bright white stripes or spots positioned horizontally on the nail beds and is feeling fatigued, it could be a sign that the kidneys are having difficulty filtering protein from urine, which can ultimately lead to kidney failure, Ostad says.

2.  Armpits.  WebMD's chief medical editor, Dr. Michael Smith, says that rough patches of dark skin there could be a symptom of diabetes due to excess insulin in the bloodstream causing skin cells to multiply unusually fast.  Smith says this sign typically occurs in the armpits, neck or groin area.

3.  Eyelids, Knees and Elbows.  Small, soft lumps that look white or waxy could be cholesterol deposits that may be an indicator of heart disease.  Dr. Smith says, however, that "reducing your numbers by just 10 percent slashes that risk by as much as a third." 

4.  Scalp.  Thin spots due to excessive hair loss could be due to a thyroid disorder, Women's Health says.  The disorder, which affects about 10 percent of women, interferes with the balance of male and female sex hormones leading to hair loss, according to Dr. Sandra Fryhofer, a physician in Atlanta.  The problem can be regulated with medication. 

Dr. Ostad adds that extreme flaking, or dandruff, can also be due to stress.  While drugstore dandruff shampoo can remedy this issue, more sleep, deep breaths and a more flexible schedule can also help.

5. Belly.  Thick, dark hair growth below the belly button could be a sign of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), according to Dr. Pamela Berens, an ob-gyn at the University of Texas Medical School.  The condition, caused by androgen overproduction, can lead to heavy periods, weight gain, acne and the growth of thick, dark hair on the belly, face, chest and back. 

6. Tongue.  If the tongue appears white, yellow or orange-coated, Dr. Fryhofer says this could be a sign of acid reflux, which is caused by the spontaneous opening of a valve at the bottom of the esophagus supposed to ensure that whatever goes down -- stays down.  When the valve opens, the contents of the stomach head for the throat leaving digestive acid on the tongue and causes bad breath.  The condition can be treated with OTC antacids or prescription medication.

7.  Eyes.  Undereye circles that will not go away could be due to allergies, Women's Health says.  Allergens cause the release of histamine, a chemical that makes blood vessels swell and become visible where the skin is thinnest.

Yellowish bumps on one's eyeball could be slightly raised nodules -- a symptom of pinguecula.

"It's nothing more than an overgrowth of callogen triggered by damage from sun, wind or dust," New York City optometretrist Traci Goldstein tells Women's Health

Use of lubricating drops and sunglasses while outdoors can prevent the bump from growing.

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ABC News Radio